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Melting pot in the Pacific

cultures Flag_raising_Winter2015_web.jpg

Students at BYU-Hawaii said they appreciate the cultural and ethnic diversity of the student body because it changes their outlook on life and their way of thinking for the better.“It really changes the dynamic of the whole university,” said Dallen Kay, a sophomore majoring in communications from Oregon. “Just today I interacted with people from six different countries. And that’s just in passing. In the classroom is where I am so amazed at the different ideologies and cultural mix.”BYUH’s website states, “Its small campus is a unique laboratory of intercultural leadership development, where a diverse population of 2,500 students representing over 70 countries live, study, and work together.” BYUH is ranked No. 15 in the nation for ethnic diversity, with a student body composition high above the national average, according to Tucker Grimshaw, an English 101 instructor from San Diego, Calif., said, “I love teaching students from all over the world… The classroom becomes a vibrant and sacred place because we are actually learning from everyone in the room.” Grimshaw added poignantly, “The students inspire me.” Rachel Leota, a freshman political science major from Australia, reflected on her experiences at home and how the classroom has always been a multicultural experience for her. The diversity at BYUH, “helps me see how different people learn and also how their individual culture affects their education,” added Leota. Kai Hughes, a junior majoring in international cultural studies from American Samoa, said, “It’s really a blessing to be around people who share the same culture as me and with the same goals of furthering our education.” Jeffrey Huang, a senior in international business management from Arizona, said, “I knew nothing about Pacific Rim cultures before coming here, and now I have learned so much regarding values and traditions. Even my perspective on my own culture has changed.”The College Board of Education outlined the benefits of a diverse student population, which include, “promoting cross-racial understanding, breaking down racial stereotypes, and promoting livelier and more enlightening classroom discussion.” Additionally, “a student’s diversity experience overall (including but not limited to racial and ethnic diversity) is associated with higher learning such as enhanced critical thinking skills, more involvement in community service, and a greater likelihood for retention and graduation.”Besides the ethnic diversity of BYUH, the university website reported most students, “speak two or more languages, including a number who have completed missions for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Brought together, they contribute to a vibrant campus community, where warmth and the spirit of aloha prevail.” The prime event embracing the cultural diversity on campus will light up the Cannon Activities Center at 9 p.m. on March 27 and 28. BYUHSA clubs will be highlighting their way of dance, song, and cultural presentation.Uploaded March 11, 2015
Writer: Morgynne Tora