When choosing a school, diversity in the student body should be something you take into consideration—and we mean more than skin color. Johns Hopkins is amazing in that there are so many different types of students here from different cultural, religious, geographic, and ethnic backgrounds and our experiences with them have undoubtedly changed our lives. Going to a school where everyone is the same and does the same things gets kind of boring after a while; going to a school such as Hopkins where you’re sure to gain invaluable knowledge about people different from yourselves is what will really have an impact on your college experience. You’ll leave here more knowledgeable about people different from yourselves and trust me—it comes in handy!
Johns Hopkins has the Office of Multicultural Student Affairs (OMA), which is a huge entity that seeks to facilitate the academic and social success of underrepresented students. It has offices for a variety of cultural clubs like the Inter-Asian Council (IAC), Organización Latino Estudiantíl, (OLE), and the Caribbean Cultural Society (CCS). It also offers programs such as JUMP—the Johns Hopkins Underrepresented in Medicine Program, SEED—Students Educating and Empowering for Diversity, Mentoring Assistance Peer Program (MAPP)—a program for underrepresented freshmen to meet up before the start of classes.
Some of the yearly events we have regarding diversity include:
- African Student Association’s “Beat of the Nile” Fashion Show
- Temps d’Afrique Dance Team Showcase
- Filipino Student Association Folk Dance Showcase
- Dunbar Baldwin Hughes Theatre Company plays (historically African-American ones)
- Culture Show (showcases of many of the dance and singing groups we have)
- Health Disparities Week (put on by the Hopkins Organization of Pre Health Education)
- JHU Shakti’s Nritya Mala
- Black History Month events (put on by the Black Student Union)
- Chinese Lion Dance
- JHU Gospel Choir
Below are a few anecdotes from three current seniors at the Hop about their involvement in keeping Hopkins a diverse community.
Tariq N. – Class of 2012
Hey guys! My name is Tariq, and I’m a senior double majoring in International Studies and French. The level of diversity at Hopkins has played a role in strengthening and playing a key role in defining my experience here, so I’d like to share some of that with you all!
From the onset of Orientation week, I was introduced to a multitude of student-run organizations that exist here on this campus. At the first annual African Students Association (ASA) meeting, I was able to meet dozens of other Africans like myself. Throughout the course of the year, the ASA holds informative meetings that educate about various topics pertaining to the continent while also challenging preconceptions through passionate discussions.
Having attended dozens of events, general body meetings and discussions, one of my friends and I became convinced that it was now our turn to contribute to diversity as Hopkins. Within the course of 2 months, we were able to establish the Hopkins Ethiopian and Eritrean Society which seeks to inform the Hopkins community about our culture and serve as a social haven for Ethiopian and Eritrean Diaspora students. We just had a celebration of the Battle of Adwa, which was when Ethiopia defeated Italy in the Italo-Ethiopian War in 1896.
MAPP, the Mentoring Assistance Peer Program, pairs dozens of interested freshmen students with mentors who are selected for their leadership skills, their mentoring skills and their involvement on campus. As a MAPP ‘mentee’ I was paired with a brilliant, extensively-involved and motivated mentor who happened to be pursuing the same major as me. From her I was able to learn how to utilize many of the resources available to me in the International Studies department, and it was she that introduced me to many of the cultural organizations I had since forgotten were active on the Hopkins campus.
My involvement in these groups has certainly put a lot of my life goals into perspective. Whether it’s discussing the law school application process with an alumni law student at an event or learning from the example of my dedicated MAPP mentor – the diversity-related organizations here are certainly a crucial cornerstone of my Hopkins experience. In my opinion an important distinction lies between being a student of diversity at Hopkins and participating in diversity-related activities. Whereas the former helped to reinforce my sense of my identity, the latter allowed me to mix leisure and socializing with learning and enrichment. Thanks for reading!
Sharif B. – Class of 2012
Why hello there! My name’s Sharif, and I’m the president of the Johns Hopkins University Muslim Association (JHUMA). JHUMA is a religious organization as well as community, which seeks to facilitate the needs of the Muslim community on campus. We also welcome students looking to learn more about Islam. Each year, the organization seeks to balance between enlightening, gripping, and entertaining events to increase awareness of the (true) core principles of the religion and fun social activities. The organization is open to Muslims and non-Muslims alike, as long as they come with an open mind and want to learn and have fun.
The MJ Initiative, jointly run by the Muslim and Jewish Student Associations here at Hopkins, is a collaborative, discussion-based initiative with the aim of increasing dialog between Muslims and Jews, two groups thought to historically be at odds with each other. Through open forum discussion and text study, the two groups are brought together to show the common threads that run between them. At the same time, the atmosphere is welcome to where discrepancies that may arise can be looked at analyzed, with the goal of increased and deeper of understanding of the religions as well as the individuals who comprise them. The MJ initiative is a cool example of cross-cultural and religious interaction that goes on here at Hopkins and hopefully you’ll be able to come out for a visit!
Peter C. – Class of 2012
DSAGA, the Diverse Sexuality and Gender Alliance, is the current LGBT student group on campus. The group is open to all members of any sexual orientation, and has weekly meetings covering various topics. I’ve been involved since my freshman year and have built amazing friendships and a support network through DSAGA. In addition to a multitude of campus events, we also participate in intercollegiate events, promoting a sense of unity in the LGBT community at large. This is how I personally made some everlasting friendships with students at MICA, Towson, UMBC, Loyola, Goucher, etc. Also, the group brings awareness to political issues that are facing the LGBT community locally, nationally, and globally. I find it helpful to stay up to date with these events, simply because they will be affecting my life, both in the present and future.
In addition, the group promotes LGBT awareness on campus, educating those who might not know much about the community, and clears misconceptions about different rumors that surround it. The main series of events that does this is Awareness Days, a month-long series of events in April, bringing speakers from all over the country to the campus. In short, I really wouldn’t be where I am today if it wasn’t for DSAGA; they’ve been my support for the past 4 years, and continue to be there for me today. I’m really lucky to have found such an amazing group of people.