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University recognized for programs that nurture diversity

Photo by Lauren McFalls

Northeastern University has won a regional award and is competing for national recognition for its commitment to diversity awareness and education on campus.

Earlier this month, the North East Affiliate of College and University Residence Halls recognized the university with its Commitment to Diversity Award. The region includes institutions throughout New England, New York and northeastern Canada.

The regional winners will next compete for the national Commitment to Diversity award from the National Association of College and University Residence Halls, a student-run organization that presents the award annually.

Northeastern’s bid for the award was organized by the Resident Student Association (RSA). Matt Hamilton, a third-year student and RSA’s national communications coordinator, said Northeastern’s events and resources promoting diversity help foster a sense of community within the residence halls, particularly since its students come from all over the world.

“When I got to Northeastern, I realized not only how diverse the world is, but also how diverse our college campus is,” Hamilton said.

The RSA noted the campus community’s diversity, and Northeastern’s commitment to being a global university.

International students make up more than 12 percent of the student body and students of color nearly 26 percent. Northeastern students hail from fifty states and 125 countries. The University builds on this diversity by focusing on programs that prepare students to become global citizens, such as international co-op and Dialogue of Civilizations. These experiential learning programs immerse students in global cultures in 69 countries on all seven continents.

The RSA’s bid also cited numerous diversity-related events, programs and student initiatives, such as Xplosaic, an annual festival of culture featuring dance, food and music; and NU Spiritual Wellness Week, which highlights the variety of spiritual beliefs on campus through dinners, prayer and film screenings.

Other programs include a variety of cultural retreats, spiritual programs, workshops, lectures community service events and student leadership activities. Many of these are organized through the University’s cultural centers, such as the Latino/a Student Cultural Center, the John D. O’Bryant African-American Institute and the Asian American Center.

The University also provides a wide range of resources for students on a range on diversity issues, through the Office of Institutional Diversity and Equity, the Disability Resource Center, the International Student and Scholar Institute, the Social Justice Resource Center, UNITE (Unifying Northeastern’s Identities through Education) and Off-Campus Student Services.