Last month we talked about the first stage of diversity development, Information. We talked about the importance of informing ourselves on God’s view of diversity, as opposed to society’s. Another part of this stage is finding out about your campus. Who’s on your campus that is not in your group? How can you minister to those that are not currently represented? Cindy Evans, staff member at University of Michigan, shares some of their thoughts as they look at their campus, “Our community is fairly diverse, thanks to our international graduate students. We have students from Africa, the Caribbean, and Asia. But when we look at our American population, it’s mainly white and Asian American; we’d like to reflect more of the American student population’s diversity. We are praying for at least one African American staff person to join our team, but we realize that we need to do some things differently to be more welcoming to black students.
It’s said that being black at the University of Michigan is tough—that many black students may go their entire time at Michigan feeling like outsiders. As a staff team, we’re talking about ways we might be able to help welcome black students to campus, to let them know that they are valued. One idea we’ve discussed is contacting a few black student organizations on campus and letting them know that we’d like to help black students feel welcomed on campus, but aren’t sure how to do it. Or maybe taking some brownies as we knock on the doors of one or two black student organizations to ask how we can serve them…then see what doors God opens up, how he leads us to be more intentional in building bridges with non-white students on campus.”
Who’s missing from your community? What are some needs that you can help meet?