The melting pot is found in clubs

California is known as a melting pot state and college campuses exemplify that diversity.

 

There was a time when the image of the typical college student was a white middle or upper class male, but according to Bob Dylan, times they are a changing.

 

Trends show a growing increase in the various ethnicities attending college within the last decade.

 

Of the roughly 18 million college students in the U.S., about 10 million are women, according to the Boston Globe and Educational Portal websites.

 

Pierce boasts a student population made up of 55 percent women and 35 percent of students are under the age of 20, according to the Pierce College Office of Institutional Research website.

 

While 59 percent of students are white, 31 percent are Latino, 16 percent are Asian, 6 percent are African-American, and 3 percent are multi-ethnic.

 

The Diversity Committee has noted the changes and works to provide for all Pierce students a welcoming environment.

 

“In the past few years each group’s visibility has increased and this has added a new element to our campus,” said Fernando Oleas, co-chair and modern languages department chair.

 

This semester, there are 39 of clubs offered at Pierce, according to the Associated Students Organization (ASO) website.

 

Clubs include French Club, Latin American Culture, Literature Club (LACL), Filipino Club and the Gay Straight Alliance (GSA).

 

“Clubs offer a unique way of integration for students,” said vice president of LACL, Andrea Gordillo. “I often talk to students that tell me they have a hard time relating to other students at school.”

 

The San Fernando Valley is known for the diversity among all schools and, in addition to Pierce, Valley College and Mission College also illustrate the presence of various ethnic groups.

 

Valley College, located in the Valley Glen area, also boasts a 58 percent female population with the majority of students being Hispanic (46 percent) and white (33 percent), according to their website.

 

Meanwhile, Mission College, located in Sylmar, has a female population of 56.9 percent with a majority of the students being Asian or Pacific Islander (53.6 percent) with 18.2 percent being Hispanic, according to their website.

 

For the first time last semester, Pierce celebrated the Multicultural backgrounds of the student body with “Multicultural Day,” hosted by the French Club.

 

“We collaborated with many other campus clubs and put together a great event with food, games, and demonstrations involving a multitude of cultures and languages,” said club president Serena Swanger.

 

The ASO allows students to create their own clubs, which has given way not only for fun pursuits but also a means for students to connect with their schoolmates.

 

“I believe student clubs serve as a vital way to engage students in being an active part of the campus. I think they foster a sense of unity and school spirit,” said Director/Counselor/DSO International Student Services Abigail C. Sandico.

 

With the growing changes, Pierce has continued to evolve along with the student body with the Diversity Committee [DC] holding the reigns.

 

“Piece College is an exceptionally progressive college in terms of campus diversity,” said Oleas. “The [DC], under the leadership of Sylvia Silva, has taken an active role in addressing every aspect of diversity across our campus.”

 

Every semester brings in new students from all backgrounds who can find solace and camaraderie among the diverse groups within Pierce.

 

“I believe that cultural groups, such as the Filipino Club, offer a respite for students who want to celebrate not just where they came from, but also where they are going” said English Professor Maria Bates, adviser for the Filipino Club.

 

For more information or to find out becoming involved on campus, contact Sylvia Silva, 818-710-2508.

 

 

Students walk the Mall to and from classes. Pierce College students are made up from all different backgrounds, ages and ethnicities. (Lorena Perez-Valladares)

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