University establishes Admissions Diversity Board

Anya Dussault, News Editor

In an effort to increase racial and ethnic diversity on campus, the Admissions department has created an Admissions Diversity Board headed by Shamika Cameron, the director of Undergraduate Admission Recruitment.

Increasing diversity on campus has been an initiative of the university’s for a long time.

Cameron explained that the Admissions Diversity Board will be composed of undergraduate students who are “really energized and committed to this initiative to help to draw in other students.”

“The Diversity Board gives us a chance to include current students in the recruitment process which, for prospective students, is very helpful because they themselves are thinking of being students here,” Cameron said, adding that prospective students would much rather see and interact with students than adults.

The Admissions department understands the importance of the student to student interaction, which is why it is students who provide campus tours, sit at tables for Open Houses, and greet prospective students at Accepted Students Days.

The planned overnight event will take place in the upcoming spring semester. The committee’s hope is to start small for the first time and then grow out of that initial overnight. Additionally, if there are individual visits that students would like to organize going forward, then the committee can help with that in order to give prospective students more opportunities to interact with them.

Last year, Admissions planned an overnight event for accepted students of color as a trial run for what they were planning for this year in the hopes of gauging student interest on both sides.

Ultimately, prospective students will relate more to current students than they will to adults. The goal is for prospective students to gain a deeper understanding of what it is like to be a student of color on campus, what diversity at RWU looks like, and to learn that support exists for students of color on campus. Of course, there is no better person to learn this from than another student who has this lived experience.

“I think this is a really great idea,” said sophomore Alicia Gryzcieski. “There’s no doubt that this school is very white. From conversations I’ve had with other students, diversity in college is so important because this is our last step before we enter the real world. And there is diversity in the real world.”

“I really hope this project is successful because I think it’ll really help with the retention of students of color here,” said senior Jamie Planter. “If prospective students of color can hear directly from current students, namely students of color, about their own past experiences being on campus with their particular racial or ethnic identity, then I would hope that they would be more interested in coming to Roger.”

“There’s a story that only [students of color] can tell, and incoming students who have concerns about what it’s like to be a [student of color] on campus could certainly ask that question to other people, but it sends a different message when someone who looks like them shares his/her experience,” Cameron said, adding, “It’s important for these students to be on the committee, but those aren’t the only folks who are welcome. There’s value in having a committee that is diverse.”

Approximately 13 to 15 students have responded with interest to the call for student volunteers, which was emailed to students on Oct. 28