Fairfield University, founded on the Jesuit beliefs, has a student body primarily composed of white Catholics. 

When searching Fairfield University online, the Student Diversity page reads “Members of the Fairfield University community are committed to respecting and valuing one another, finding the common good rooted in us all and working collaboratively to achieve our potential as a modern Jesuit Catholic institution.” The words on the page emphasize a welcoming and inclusive community at the university. 

Despite the university’s stated commitment to inclusivity and respect for diverse backgrounds, this sentiment doesn’t always translate into reality.

In a recent interview with a friend from a different background, he responded to the question, “How is race constructed and experienced at Fairfield University?” He said, “Most people who attend Fairfield University come from the same place in the U.S. These kids come from the same background, leading to the fact that they are all the same. I mean that these kids don’t know anything else.” While this was very much his opinion, I agree with him in a sense. When people are not open to welcoming others from different backgrounds, it’s incredibly difficult to have conversations or make friends.

Born and raised in the heart of Manhattan, I proudly identify as a New Yorker: a city girl, Brazilian-American, and Jewish. When I would share this aspect of my identity with others, I often encountered puzzled expressions. Many found it hard to believe that I had Brazilian roots or that I was a native of New York City. Moreover, attempting to engage in meaningful conversations with such individuals proved to be challenging, so I don’t try anymore. 

Fairfield University could benefit from enhancing its efforts to promote diversity across various aspects of campus life. Incorporating diverse perspectives and voices into the curriculum across all disciplines to provide students with a more comprehensive understanding of the world. Emphasizing diversity and supporting students from all backgrounds is crucial at universities. I believe this is a commendable idea, as it fosters a more inclusive and welcoming environment.

Cultural events and programs, such as those hosted at The Quick Center, offer enriching experiences for students. The Bennett Center for Judaic Studies at Fairfield University frequently organizes these events, yet student attendance is often lacking. I believe creating more engaging events would attract a larger audience of students, thereby increasing participation and fostering a more inclusive community.

The United States is a country that was built on diverse cultures and backgrounds, where people bring unique perspectives that shape our society in many different ways. Our roots define our identities, shaping our beliefs and influencing how we perceive the world around us. That’s the beauty of diverse cultures: they offer varying perspectives, enabling us to learn from one another and reflect on our experiences.

We should wholeheartedly embrace diversity and cultivate an environment where we respect and learn from our peers and their diverse perspectives. By actively engaging with each other’s viewpoints, we can foster greater understanding, empathy and appreciation for the richness of our collective experiences.

About The Author

-- Senior | Contributing Writer | English: Creative Writing

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