Students Speak: Campus Climate - The Herald: News

Students Speak: Campus Climate

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Posted: Friday, April 28, 2017 9:00 am

Coming to college, you have it built up in your mind that you will be integrated into everything your campus has to offer. With a plethora of clubs, organizations, and groups to be a part of, the very thought of being involved is captivating and intriguing. 

Although your high school most likely offered these same amenities, you’re now introduced to individuals from all walks of life to experience your days with. I fully believe the diversity, inclusion, and educational opportunities students experience while on this campus will influence their overall perspective, not only on Arkansas State University, but every single individual they come into contact with in their life. 

This diversity and inclusion at our university can be categorized by one simple term: campus climate. Pennsylvania State University professor Susan Rankin defines campus climate as “the current attitudes, behaviors, and standards of faculty, staff, administrators, and students concerning the level of respect for individual needs, abilities, and potential.”

To me, this definition envelops a broad range of ideas concerning universities in all countries alike. College is meant to be a place of true expression, to find your way in a tortuous world. When this idea becomes constricted and one-sided, students miss out on two of the most beautiful aspects of life: acceptance and open-mindedness.

Although I have only been attending A-State for a year, I have no doubt that our campus is inclusive for all on equal levels, and works to improve our campus climate constantly. As stated previously, there are many organizations and clubs to be a part of on campus -- over 150 registered student organizations to be exact. 

These RSOs seek to provide students with the utmost respect and inclusion, while also working together to provide experiences for students to interconnect with other organizations, and offer programs and activities that all students can participate in. As a member of multiple organizations on campus, I’m thankful I get to experience this firsthand. I am happy to be involved, but I am even happier to provide outreach and get others alike and unlike me involved.  

Many professors and staff members on campus are vocal about being LGBTQ+ friendly, making sure these students know they can always have a safe zone and friend to talk to about issues, questions, or concerns regarding themselves or their campus life. 

The Multicultural Center promotes diversity education and cultural competence throughout our university. I believe that the Multicultural Center plays a huge part in how much our climate has flourished providing lectures, programs, and celebrations all centered around varying groups of people. 

To improve our campus climate even further, I believe that there could be an increased effort to make these issues known. Campus climate is totally dependent on the students enrolled, and can change on a dime, year to year. Back in February, Interim Chancellor Doug Whitlock proposed a Campus Climate Council be established to improve campus climate and voice concerns of the students on these issues. 

I hope this idea is still in the works and will come to life during my time here. By educating and inspiring students to pass down what they know to underclassmen, we could build a strong campus climate that cannot, and will not, be shaken.

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