Diversity at Bradley has been steadily increasing for the past four years, and this year’s numbers reflect that trend.
Diversity on campus has increased this year by 8.87 percent, bringing last year’s number of 755 ethnically diverse students up to 822, which is 21 percent of Bradley’s student population, according to the headcount enrollment by race and class from the registrar’s office.
In 2004, students of color represented 9.8 percent of the student body.
Multiculturalism is in Bradley’s roots, and it is just as important today as it was a century ago, said Associate Provost for Enrollment Management Nicki Roberson.
“I’ve been at Bradley for 23 years and I can say that particularly in the last decade, diversity has been of great importance,” she said. “We have made some real gains, especially in the last few years in ethnic diversity.”
Roberson said in the 21st century, multiplicity of races is not only a benefit to the university, but a necessity.
“The country is changing in terms of ethnic diversity,” Roberson said. “The college-bound white population is declining and there is clear growth in the number of Asian and Hispanic college students, as well as minimal growth in the African-American student population. The world is going to become more diverse. We found that students want to come to a college that is diverse. They have a richer experience because of it.”
Roberson also said the Admissions Office works to recruit a diverse student body.
“We’ve spent time visiting schools in culturally diverse areas,” Roberson said. “We have scholarship programs that assist in bringing members of underrepresented groups to campus.”
The Multicultural Student Services Center’s goals are to provide support programs and services and to promote and cultivate an awareness and appreciation for multiculturalism campus-wide, according to a center pamphlet. The center achieves these goals by mentoring programs.
There is also a variety of multicultural organizations on campus.
Representing one of these organizations is President of the Association of Latin American Students Vanessa Mendiola. ALAS hosts many different events on campus including Spanish bingo nights, dancing on Olin Quad and salsa lessons.
“Our group is really big on promoting diversity,” Mendiola said. “We promote diversity to students of all different backgrounds, not just students of color. Bradley, to me, is a school that is about broadening your horizons. We try to help with that.”
But supporting cultural diversity isn’t always easy and there’s not always sufficient support from teachers or faculty members.
“When we try to have campus events, sometimes we don’t get a whole lot of cooperation,” Mendiola said.