The moment I stepped onto Calvin’s campus for the first time, my immediate thought was this: “Wow. This place is incredibly white.” At the time, it seemed as though every other student I passed was Dutch, tall and blonde. As a student passionate about diversity and inclusion, I was initially reluctant to attend Calvin due to its seemingly lacking minority population.
However, my initial impression of Calvin could not be more inaccurate. While there is still a majority of white students, according to the day 10 enrollment report for 2016, 15% of the student body are U.S. ethnic minorities, and 11% of the student body are international students. This means that approximately one out of every four students on campus is an ethnic minority.
This growing statistic makes Calvin College’s Unlearn 365 that much more important. For those of you who don’t know, UnLearn 365 (formerly known as UnLearn Week) is a week filled with events, lunches, movies and discussion panels led by the multicultural student development office (MSDO). The goal of UnLearn 365 is to start the dialogue over race and inequality in the hopes of creating a safe space for minorities in both the Calvin community and society as a whole.
Programs at Calvin, like UnLearn 365, remind me why I chose to go to Calvin College in the first place. Calvin College does not invite minority students to attend Calvin so they can slap a statistic on a brochure for prospective students. Rather, they encourage minority students to come to Calvin because they truly value the minorities present here. This yearning to learn how to be better allies to minorities separates Calvin and reinforces the rare education all students find here.
If you missed any of the events this year at UnLearn 365, never fear! I did my best to go to as many as possible in order to report back some of my favorite events for anyone unable to attend. In the future, I highly recommend that you try to make your way to as many events as possible. After all, you never know what you may ‘un’learn.