Inclusion in diversity


File Photo/The Lion’s Roar

Members of Nepalese Students Association at Southeastern celebrate Holi, a festival of colors, in front of the Pennington Student Activity Center.

The university has a diverse campus culture with students from different races, cultures, origin and nationalities.

According to the university website, the student population is comprised of 62.3 percent white and non-Hispanic students and 32.5 percent minority. There are 247 international students from 50 different nations.

Fawaz Adesina, a sophomore physics major, traveled from Nigeria to pursue his undergraduate degree. He experienced a difference in culture after coming to the U.S.

“My country is very different from the U.S. in lots of ways,” said Adesina. “Most especially notable is the food and culture. The Nigerian way of life is more aggressive and hard to adapt to, that is, the people are not so nice.”

Adesina is involved in various organizations on campus, including his position as the secretary of the International Student Union. The ISU organizes various events like FIFA tournament, soccer tournament, potluck, welcome events for incoming freshman, International Week and game nights, among others.

“I work with my team to increase ISU’s presence on the Southeastern campus and to make people aware of the diversity around them and its benefits,” shared Adesina.

Vice President of Nepalese Student’s Association at Southeastern Basanta Khakurel, a sophomore biological sciences major, is an international student from Nepal.

“As the vice president of NSAS, I assist in conducting various events related to Nepalese students on campus,” shared Khakurel. “We have certain cultural events on-campus and off-campus during our festivals and special occasions. “

Various events organized by NSAS includes Dashain and Tihar celebration, Teej, Holi, henna tattoo events and other tabling events. Khakurel feels that the Nepalese community is embraced in the university culture.

“Being involved in various organizations and events enables me to interact with a lot of American students, and I find them pretty friendly and helpful,” said Khakurel.

ISU receives a good involvement of students during events organized.

“For events that are planned around the times when students are available, we have had good turnouts,” explained Adesina. “We came to realize that most international students are available during the weekend and most of our bigger events are planned around the weekends which is disadvantageous for the local students.”

Khakurel feels his organization has added to the diversity in student life.

“Organizing events including the American people has allowed us to spread our culture and also interacting with them allows them to learn a lot about us,” shared Adesina. “This presence of different communities has made SLU a diverse campus.”

Adesina had to make additional effort to be involved and feel included.

“I feel included in the campus community but only because I reached out to people and other organizations,” shared Adesina. “I think as an international student, people do not reach out to you because they think you are different, and you have to reach out to them.”

In spite of being from a different culture, Khakurel does not feel alienated on campus. He attributed this to a large Nepalese community and friendly people around campus.

Adesina noted how a diversified student culture is important for the campus life.

“Diversity has really changed the way people viewed other culture especially the stereotypes that people have for certain communities,” said Adesina. “The international students on campus as done a great job in educating people on campus and setting straight different misconceptions they might have had.”