As 2021 looks into 2022, what has Queens College (QC) done to promote diversity? What else can QC do?
Diversity is often associated with ethnicity and race. This term actually extends far beyond our physical features, so let’s consider invisible diversity. Sexual identity and orientation, political affiliation, age, veteran status, religion, income level, and more. Increasing the diversity of our student body will welcome new perspectives, experiences, and conversations to which students may have not been previously exposed.
QC demonstrates its unique student body to current students which also helps draw in new applicants every year. As a Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI) and Asian American Native American Pacific Islander Serving Institution (AANAPISI), QC will continue serving students of all backgrounds. The 2021-2026 QC Strategic Plan report states that 79 different languages are spoken by students and 140 countries are represented. This plan also goes into depth by defining QC’s core values, including diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI).
Just walking through campus is an educational experience: interacting with fellow students of a culture completely foreign to you helps QC students thrive in the modern workplace and develop incredible social skills. These enriching experiences are beneficial in academic ways as well. Once you step foot on campus this fall, not only will you be welcomed with new faces but also the “Afro Pick” Sculpture Series known as “Elevations.” Each of the six-piece Afro Pick sculptures stands 5 to 6 feet tall with images, powerful text engravings, and sculpted faces on top. Together, they describe the African American experience by sharing what it means to be and what life is like as a person of color. When promoting human rights and justice, silence does nothing. Jinn Choi, a junior at QC, studies film and is A.S.I.A’s (Asian Students In Action) current president puts it best, “Don’t ever silence yourself. Let your voice be heard. Don’t let anyone silence you.”
The 2021 Juneteenth Message from President Frank H. Wu and Student Association President Zaire Couloute included the acknowledgement that “Our society still suffers from the longstanding impact of the racism and bigotry that reaches back to its roots. Yes, we have come a long way, but no, sadly, we have not reached the finish line. That is why it is important that we at Queens College—an inclusive institution of higher education that supports students of every background and identity—reaffirm our enduring commitment for achieving social justice and equality.”
Joselle Joy Sunico, junior at QC, studies psychology and is A.S.I.A. ‘s current vice president, is also a member of Queens College’s Undergraduate Psychology Committee (UPC), specifically as part of the Diversity and Inclusion team. One of UPC’s goals is to improve QC’s psychology department to understand the intersections of race, culture, and psychology. Sunico says, “Throughout the years, we’ve seen the psychology workforce become more and more diverse and I am hopeful that Queens College can be that environment where our future leaders can truly have an active role in understanding their identities and amplifying other’s.”
When asked about what QC can do better to improve its diversity, equity, and inclusion, Choi and Sunico said, “Queens College currently fosters a department for East Asian Studies and offers minors in Chinese, Japanese, and Korean. The ethnic educational classes that the school provides its students are a statement to have available. It allows students to take classes that educate them about other ethnic groups and POC populations. However, the continent of Asia is not a monolith. We would love to see Queens College be open to create and fund more classes that encompass not just East Asia, but all of Asia including Central, East, South, and Western Asia. While there are a wide variety of extremely interesting classes and a wide variety of ethnic clubs, we can ALWAYS do better. There will always be room to improve our understanding of each other.”