February is Black History Month, and with that leads to discussions and events on campus regarding the history of black people.
One major topic involving black people has to do with diversity on our own college campus. According to the College Factual website, Keene State College is “below average” in ethnic diversity. Statistics also show that 85.9 percent of the KSC campus is white with the next most prominent race being Hispanic with 3.6 percent of the campus breakdown.
President of the Common Ground Multicultural Club Brianna Neely said that the main goal of Common Ground is to promote diversity on campus. “Our role on campus is to educate people and let them know what are some of the different experiences for people out there. We want to provide a support system to talk about any issue or current event they want to discuss,” Neely said.
Neely said some who are of diverse races or ethnicities have mentioned feeling as though they are an outsider at KSC.
“I think one of the reasons the diversity numbers are so low is because diversity breeds diversity. More diversity on campus will lead to more students of different backgrounds willing to come here. As numbers start to trail off, I think that makes people feel less comfortable and like an outsider,” Neely said.
Neeley said, “One of the things that we have to try to do and we talk about too is sort of bringing to light that diversity so that people can see that they wouldn’t be an outsider here on campus. They would be accepted, they would be included, there’s a place for them and I think once we get that message across we start increasing the diversity and more diverse people will come.”
Vice President of Common Ground Kate Chestna said in order to make the school more diverse, the school needs to be diverse in the first place.
“People have even considered switching schools and transferring out of Keene because of both the lack of diversity and the lack of support for diversity on the campus which is hard to hear,” Chestna said.
Neeley said one reason there is a small amount of diversity on campus is because those who are diverse feel so on the outside that they stick to themselves causing people to not see the diversity on campus.
Neely said Common Ground puts on events throughout the year to promote diversity such as Holi Celebration which is also known as a festival of colors.
Neely said that it is an event that takes place on the Lloyd P. Young Student Center lawn and the basis of the event is to celebrate all colors and types of people.
Along with Holi Celebration, Common Ground also puts on a holiday festival just before winter break to celebrate all the different holidays that students may celebrate such as Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, Winter Solstice and more.
Neely said while KSC is doing some things to help promote and bring in more diversity to the campus, there are still more things that they could be doing that would make an impact.
Associate Vice President for Institutional Diversity and Equity Dottie Morris did not respond for comment in time for publication.
Colby Dudal can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org