Op-Eds

Diversity in the Summit

Diversity means a range of different things; one of which can be historical and background information of people. In the Summit Apartments (otherwise known as the dorms), located on the grounds of Queens College, one may find living there, a group of people having different ethnic backgrounds. There are as many as five hundred individuals living in the Summit. These people come from all over the globe. Some are not here though for college.  That being said these dorms are not only housing Queens College students. Students from other schools such as Queens Borough Community College, live there as well.  Queens College is also situated near LaGuardia Airport and many of the rooms are rented out to travelers over semester break.

There are people from many different backgrounds living in the dorms. There are:  African Americans, Asians, Hispanics, Whites, and others. With different backgrounds comes many different ethnicities, languages and religions. The Summit tries to make everyone feel as if they are living at home.  It also goes to great lengths to accommodate both the people who live here and their religions. One example of this accommodation is, if someone who is moving into the Summit keeps kosher, he/she can request a kosher room in which to stay.  This specific dorm would have been cleaned to the appropriate standards and would now be available to those kosher students.

One also hears a variety of tongues in the dorms. When speaking with Resident Assistant, (RA) Matt Gomm, he had this to say: “I hear many different languages on a daily basis in the resident halls. Some include. Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Japanese, Korean, and Spanish.”  With this being said, one can identify some of the different Nationalities of the many people (from all over the world), who call the Summit a home away from home.

The Summit also has a variety of events which take place during each Semester; sometimes even happening more than once a week. With these events comes a lot of food!  For those who keep kosher, there is a kosher option for food at the events. This has been made easier for the Summit –since it is situated in a highly populated Jewish area. Therefore, there are many kosher restaurants nearby on Main Street and some can also be found in the Kosher Cafeteria.

One often sees people of different backgrounds interacting with each other. The people are either playing: Pool, Ping Pong or Fooseball, or just chilling together. When speaking with summit resident Ethan Jenkins, he commented: “it doesn’t matter whether you are like me and from Ohio or from Morocco like others, we are all the same people. It is not the differences but the similarities which unite us.”

Just this past winter, the Summit was dressed up for the holidays. When walking in, one would notice, the Christmas Tree, the Chanukah Menorah or the numerous stickers and ornaments hanging from the walls and from the ceiling. There was also an area in the Flex Space for some people to light their candles in honor of Chanukah.

During this past Easter, some Resident Assistants provided the opportunity to paint Easter Eggs. At the event however there were not just Catholics and Christians, but Buddhists, Hindus and Jews as well. They had all come together to mingle and have fun with, and enjoy each other’s company while painting and decorating eggs. They all seemed to be interacting and laughing with one another.

Besides diversity in culture and in those people living in the Summit, there is also diversity in different majors. Queens College offers a huge variety of majors– from Psychology to Linguistics.  While walking around the Summit at any time of day, one will find people with the same or similar majors assisting one another in studying. They can usually be found in one of the numerous study rooms in the dorms. There are five floors in the Summit each with two study rooms. This makes an even ten study rooms.

Last semester there was also a potluck which took place at the Summit. A potluck is a meal to which everyone who comes, contributes food. Included was a large amount of food from different diverse backgrounds. There was: pizza, falafel, and dishes provided by people whose lineage stemmed from Trinidad.  Each dish provided a wonderful aroma and a different sizzling taste.

In the Summit at Queens College, one will find a huge diversity in many areas of life. Some include food, ethnic backgrounds, religions, languages and more.  We are all human and even though we look and have diverse backgrounds and histories, in the end, we are all the same.  We all laugh and cry and love and hurt.  We are equal. We are the people of the Summit at Queens College. May we always remember this for all of our lives.

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