This week is Extravaganza 2010 week at Lafayette - a weeklong annual festival celebrating world cultures and diversity... For this occasion, the campus was again decorated with flags representing the different countries that students on campus come from.
Again, like every year since my freshman year, flags were stolen (or taken down, if you feel that's too harsh of a word) from the poles on the Quad. On Tuesday night, three flags were completely gone, while one was ripped off. Of course, if you go by tomorrow, you will probably not see any flag missing, as the college was very helpful in offering to replace them...
To repeat, the stealing of flags from the Quad has been happening for several years, yet the only response from the College is to replace the missing flags, buy new ones, and now employ Bear Security to guard them at night... Oh, and they also decided that from next year no flags will be put on the Quad any more...
Wait, is this the same college that praises about educating the students in the spirit of diversity - respect and appreciation for cultures and other such stuff ?! The college that has more than one office and 5-10 student organizations dealing with diversity?!
Ever since I came to Lafayette different people took care to let me know how valued my presence is, as an international student, and how much value everybody here puts on diversity. Of course, the point being that just by being here I increase diversity. However, most people's reaction when I tell them where I am from is "Cool!" Then, some try to figure out where Romania is, and then some want to know "So... how is Romania?". But that's where it stops most of the time. As an international student, you kind of remain an exhibit of diversity for many people.
One of my flatmates in London was once reading a booklet called "Stuff White People Like" and one entry was "talking about diversity". I thought that was true back then too, but now it just struck me as so obvious!
Diversity, as it appears, is just a measure of how many international students there are on campus, how many types of ethnic cuisine you tried, where you went to study abroad and how many surrounding countries you visited, and perhaps how many talks about international issues you attend.
ps:I was tempted to write a poem about this at first... but while I'm sure that would totally solve the problem, I decided plain words would express my point better.