Columbia College students say being part of such a diverse student body has made them more accepting and open toward people from many different cultures and lifestyles.
Most students have no problem branching out and interacting with students outside of their normal groups, they said.
Transfer students have found Columbia to be diverse compared to the colleges they previously attended.
One-third of the college’s student body is African American, Latino, Asian, Native American, Pacific Islander, or multi-racial, which makes Columbia the most diverse of any private arts college in the nation, according to the college website.
The college also encourages students to interact with students from all majors.
“Being at Columbia gives you more of an opportunity to interact with people from different majors,” said Trey Martin, a journalism transfer student from the University of Kansas.
“If I was still at Kansas, their journalism program would be separate from any art stuff.”
There are many opportunities for cross-pollination of ideas among many different majors, he said.
“People are creative from all walks of life,” Martin said.
Whitney Taylor, a sophomore fashion designer, said she associates with countless people in and out of her major. She finds making her social circle diverse helps with her work ethic and creativity.
Walking to class everyday and seeing the different fashion styles of her peers helps Taylor come up with multiple ideas for her designs.
“Having friends who are illustrators helps to bump ideas back and forth,” Taylor said.
Janelle Knippen, a transfer student from Carthage College in Wisconsin, said she finds being a dance major at Columbia very different from her experience in Wisconsin.
A few of the dancers in the Columbia department seem to stay in their dance groups, she said, but she prefers associating with dancers and non dancers alike.
“Since Carthage was such a small school, we were forced to interact with students outside of our departments,” Knippen said.
Many students have said the lack of Greek life at Columbia makes interactions with students outside of their social circle easier.
Having fraternities and sororities on campus makes students stay only in that specific circle.
Interacting with students of different cultures and majors not only allows students to network but also eliminates stereotypes.
“Dancers are always seen as stuck up, but when you get to know us you will understand the time and dedication we put into our art,” Knippen said.
Columbia students said when they do transition into the working world, they will have an easier time alongside people from different cultures.
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