While we face inequality and social justice in our country, we’re on the path toward a brighter light. Locally, we’re doing our part to make sparks at UE.
Knowledge about is what separates our world into being a better place. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the 2020 population in Indiana 84.8% is white and 15.2% of any other race. Within the 15.2% a variety of races is a multitude of different ethnic groups. An ethnic group is defined to be people who are closely related to each other through characteristics such as culture, language, and religion. Each of these groups contributes to America’s cultural heritage.
The University of Evansville International program is setting a pace for all schools in the United States. The culture UE has is unique in many respects. It’s made up of approximately 15% international students, 31% students with a declared religion, and represents over 55 countries. Services such as the CEIS (Cultural Engagement and International Services) encourage this diversity, giving international students support in the areas of immigration regulations, academic advisement, cultural adjustment, and community interaction.
These programs on campus are intended to improve the experience for students and to help all from the University of Evansville community. Gaining knowledge about culture helps us understand different outlooks within the world and eliminates negative stereotypes and personal biases about different groups.
“The primary mission of the Office of Cultural Engagement and International Services is to foster global awareness, understanding, and appreciation within the University of Evansville community and surrounding region,” said Kate Hogan, Director of CEIS. This mission is accomplished through programs and services designed to promote international educational activities and opportunities as well as contribute to a culturally diverse learning environment.”
There are certain clubs at UE that supports and promotes the diversity of cultures presented on campus such as the group known as the IC (International Club). This Club organizes events and philanthropies that welcome everyone who appreciates the opportunity to expand their perspectives of other cultures. IC is a place where you can create meaningful life-long relationships with people from around the world.
“At first coming to the university of Evansville, I was scared I was going to face a culture shock and have to adapt quickly. Thankfully, I’m at a university where I’m able to express and share my culture,” said Thomasi-Gileous-Alexander, international student at UE.
Each year the university hosts an international event. The event is a traditional celebration that honors the heritage and diversity among the international students at UE through music, dance, demonstrations, authentic foods, activities, cultural displays and an international bazaar. The students are able experience cultures and different ways of life other than their own.
UE’s goal is to prepare students for a complex social world requires learning experiences that attend to the history, cultures, values, beliefs, and views of our global society.
“We are an innovative team that develops cultural competencies, cultivates values that unite us, and produces ethical cross-cultural relationships for the betterment of our community. We remind ourselves that while much has been accomplished, diversity, equity, and inclusion are not outcomes but rather enduring processes,” said Rob Shelby, chief diversity officer.
If all universities had the same goal as UE where diversity is recognized and respected, various cultural ideas are acknowledged and valued, contributions from all groups are encouraged, and the cultivation of interpersonal trust was encouraged, we would all recognize that different is normal.