The Importance of Diversity in Higher Education

Everyone knows what a college education is all about. Parties, friends, dating …. right?  NO! The whole point of education is to diversify your knowledge of the world. We wouldn’t have so many clueless white men in office making laws that don’t make sense if those same men had known (and sought to understand) different types of people and their experiences. 

Diversity was a key factor in my decision to come to the University of Utah. While I was touring other campuses in Utah, I got the same, corny phrase told to me over and over again. “This school felt like home.” However, when I looked around these campuses, I found that they housed only one demographic. On one specific campus tour, I saw not a single person of color the entire time. I never knew how important diversity was to me until I was in an environment without it.

Education is about learning the Pythagorean theorem, sure, but true knowledge comes from recognizing, understanding, and integrating other people’s perspectives into our own narratives. Group polarization is a psychological theory that states that if you are only surrounded by those who share your same opinion, as a group you become more and more extreme. If all of your friends agree with you all the time, maybe it’s time to step outside your comfort friend zone.

By surrounding yourself with people of different backgrounds, experiences, and opinions, you will be able to view your own opinions from a more unbiased view and become more bi-partisan in the way you think about things.

The great thing about college is that it’s super easy to find tons of people to disagree with you. You might make friends from the opposite political spectrum. Sure, you may fight about politics, but in the end you both will come away with new knowledge and a new interpretation of certain topics.

The University of Utah is strong because of its diversity. By promoting diversity, higher level thinking skills are developed, stereotypes are broken, new perspectives are found, and unlikely friendships are formed. Diversity will always be a good thing.

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So whether you’re a “raging liberal” or a “staunch conservative,” diversify your life!

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