Lately, Linfield has been sporting a more diverse and accepting campus. We are more than happy to see this change in the student population.
This increased diversity is occurring thanks to many people like Jason Rodriquez, the director of Multicultural Programs.
In the two years he has been at Linfield, Rodriquez has created support for under-represented students, helping their voices be heard.
“My main job has been to foster dialogue in a very student-centered way. I’m asking what the students want,” Rodriquez said.
The students answered by creating and revitalizing clubs and unions. For example, the Black Student Union was active in the ‘80s but has since been dormant until students met with Rodriquez and made a plan for the future.
The union now has consistent member, activities and executive boards.
Asian American Alliance is new to campus. It is a place for students to figure out what it means to be Asian in America. Members can be Japanese, Korean, Chinese or allies.
The Native American Student Association was created when Rodriquez noticed these students were falling through the cracks. There are nine tribes in Oregon, so the need for this association was greater than anyone ever seemed to expect. Now the association has 40 members, including allies.
In November, these three programs will go in front of the Associated Students of Linfield College to petition for full charter status.
Fusion, the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender alliance, has been much more active on campus this year. Recently, the group helped educate and celebrate National Coming Out Day.
The Hawaiian Club and International Club have been visible groups on campus, so it is amazing to see other clubs begin to grow in size as well.
These unions and clubs are a chance for students to bring and share their culture to Linfield.
“It is important for students to know that the multicultural programs are for everyone,” Rodriquez said. “White is an identity too. British, Dutch and Irish could all exist here too. Either way, allies are always welcome and encouraged.”
The multicultural program has goals to host conferences related to ethnicity. In fact, Linfield College may even be the future host to an Asian-American Conference. The fact that such a small college is on a conference’s radar is a huge step in the right direction.
The student population as a whole is becoming much more well-rounded, and we couldn’t be happier. While we have made huge strides in the past year, Rodriquez admits there is still more to improve.
Linfield is increasingly committed to diversity and we hope students continue to help this worthy cause.
If you want to create your own club or union, plan an event, or find out more about your heritage, Rodriquez is more than willing to help. His door is always open to talk about even the most difficult issues regarding ethnicity.
If you see anything you want to join or create, “think big, let’s talk,” Rodriquez said. Find a way to share your culture and better Linfield.
-The Review Editorial Board