Peabody is the building, Jack is the dog, and I'm Dean J (she/her, btw).

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Tuesday, April 26, 2011

A student's note about diversity

May 1st is around the corner and we've been getting lots of interesting questions at the Office of Admission.  A while back, you gave me topics you'd like to see covered here and one of them was diversity.  Daniel Grimes, a member of the Class of 2012, wrote this note to those of you who are interested in diversity here.

Congratulations on being admitted to the University of Virginia! You all are about to embark on one of the most exciting times in your life. Now on to my main purpose today and that is to discuss the issue of diversity at the UVA. Before I begin, I caution you to not generalize my experiences to the entire student body; I am only one person coming from one vantage point.

Diversity is an all encompassing word that can mean so many things. There is diversity in terms of race, gender, socioeconomic background, sexual orientation, etc. This blog is not long enough for me to discuss all of those in detail so I will try to give you an overarching sense of what diversity means at UVA. For those of you who are into statistics and factual evidence, you will be happy to hear that UVA is actually the most diverse school in Virginia. Just read this special report from WDBJ7 that discusses this issue more in depth
To get straight to the point, UVA has a lot of different types of people just like any other university in the world. The greatest thing about the University is the fact that there is an outlet for all of these different people. If you are an African American who wants to be in an all black organization, then you are certainly welcome to do so. In the same vein, if you are someone who wants to venture out of the comforts of your race, then there are organizations available to you as well. The University Guide Service, the A Capella community, drama productions, and the student council are just a few organizations that are available for you to do so. 

I always seek to have a wholesome experience with whatever I undertake and so I chose to participate in various organizations. I am a Peer Advisor for the Office of African American Affairs and am also a member of the Academical Village People, an all-male A Capella group at UVA. These different organizations have their separate purposes, but both manage to fill voids in my life. And that is the answer to the diversity question. UVA is what you make it. It is diverse if you want it to be diverse. In fact, that is true with wherever you decide to spend the next four years. There will be resources available at any school to fill the various voids in your life, but it is up to you to be proactive and fill those niches. I am positive that if you continue to be open minded and perform as well as you did to get into UVA then you will have an enriched college experience.