Rutgers plans to increase diversity commendable
Letter to the Editor
I am proud to attend one of the most racially diverse institutions of higher education in the United States. This type of diversity exposes us to the many cultures that are present in New Jersey and allows us, as a community, to be more accepting and understanding of people who may share different cultural or political views of the world. But there is a substantial area of diversity that our university lacks.
Geographic diversity should be just as important as the races and religions that make up Rutgers today. Our university is lacking in this key area, thereby inhibiting students from receiving a well-rounded and worldly education. How truly diverse of an education are we receiving if almost 90 percent of the student body lives within 150 miles of campus? While Rutgers has an obligation to educate the residents of the state of New Jersey, it lags behind in the out-of-state and international population compared with other public institutions such as the University of California schools and our soon to be peer Big Ten schools.
The past month, I have been in Australia preparing to study at Ormond College, one of the residential colleges at the University of Melbourne. And while the University of Melbourne is a public institution serving the students of the state of Victoria, Ormond College has a substantial population from overseas and the other territories that make up Australia. In this short period of time, I have met some of the most interesting people in my life thus far — all of whom have a unique story as to what led them to travel many miles to study at this particular public university. When you are exposed to others who have grown up in a different environment, it allows you to gain a changed prospective on why people may think differently in another part of your country or world.
I’m extremely excited that the Rutgers Strategic Plan calls for more out-of-state and international students to contribute to our university in the next few years. This type of diversity will not only benefit Rutgers, but the state of New Jersey as well. Whether it is students from different states or overseas, more geographic diversity is exactly what Rutgers needs as we progress well into the 21st century and reach our historic 250th year milestone.
Andrew E. Rodriguez is a School of Arts and Sciences junior majoring in political science with a minor in planning and public policy. He is an exchange student at Ormond College - University of Melbourne.