Cultural center sets good example
At a University as diverse as ours, it may sometimes be difficult for students of different backgrounds to overcome cultural barriers that accompany life in a college community. Students here for the first time are free, in a sense, from the obligations they once had growing up. They can make their own decisions. They can choose their own interests. They no longer live under their parents’ roofs. These traits are common to almost all students.
But they’re also compounded, as the difference between the family values one grows up with and those values promoted here at the University increases. According to Ji Hyun Lee, Korean-American director for the University Asian-American Cultural Center, this difficulty is especially prominent among Asian-American students. Making up around 25 percent of the University’s student body, Asian-American students often come from families whose values are starkly different from those values they find here at the University. They’re then forced to grapple, Lee says, with satisfying both locales.
To assist with the challenges facing these students, the center has been working to break down cultural barriers that face Asian-American students here on campus. Through workshops held on Livingston campus, where students can voice their concerns openly, the organization aims to “break the chain and make the taboo not so taboo,” according to Lee.
We praise the center for assisting students with a challenge that is so often overlooked.
ere at the University, students have a number of resources at their disposal, but few seem to cater to resolving cultural differences among students. At a University as diverse as ours, this is key. Dealing with cultural stigmas — though they may differ from one to another — is a challenge that nearly every student faces at one point or another. The Asian-American Cultural Center’s approach to such a common problem can serve as an example in this respect.
There is no single way to characterize the cultural and ethnic landscape of the University community, except maybe that it is one of the most diverse in the nation. The University is home to students who find their roots in countries and cultures the world over. And because of this, there is no one way in which students here approach their college career. We may be an “American” university, but that doesn’t mean we all hold the same American values.