By Ariana Espinoza
I strongly believe that Beloit College should have an ethnic studies program. Before you disagree, I’ll tell you why. I am a sophomore here from the city of Beloit, Wi. (In other words, I’m a townie). I graduated from Beloit Memorial High School, which has just as many students as the college but is more diverse. I am a first generation college student and a Mexican-American with the ambition of being an orthodontic dentist. Now that you briefly know where I’m from maybe you will understand my intentions.
At the beginning of my freshman year, I went to some sorority events on campus and it wasn’t right for me. I started to begin looking at other options such as bringing a multicultural sorority to Beloit College. The idea is to bring diversity to campus, not just internationally, but also within our own nation’s borders.
Recently, I thought seriously about transferring. Whether I transferred or not, I was still going to make a change for Beloit College because, to me, it doesn’t matter where you are—you can always make a difference. In the end, I decided not to transfer.
If someone wants to learn about different cultures, the only real way to do that academically is through language studies or talking to people of the ethnicity that they are interested in. That is not enough. In my high school, I put together a proposal where my main objective was to not only have African-American studies or Asian studies, but Hispanic studies as well. Many colleges have ethnic studies programs, and I believe that they are very successful.
I have family members who attend more diverse universities, where the students have a better understanding of different cultures and ethnicities than someone who only studies a language. This is also another reason why I feel many people of other ethnicities feel offended: one can know a language and yet know nothing about a culture and consequently make an arrogant comment or action.
I encourage everyone to reflect upon how well they know other cultures, not just in the present, but the history as well. Everyone should be respectful of other cultures and mindful of their actions. That is why I believe ethnic studies would give the college another advantage.