Students reflect on the many factors that affect diversity

Alli Kolick

Iowa State’s diversity statement includes many different factors that involve diversity, but it may be too broad of a definition to convince the diverse populations on campus that the university understands diversity.

“Diversity means different religions, different traditions, different cultures, different ways people think and the way they live,” said Nicolas Dagna, graduate in agronomy and president of MATES.

This is only one interpretation of diversity. Dagna said he felt that even within the Latino community and culture the definition of diversity differed. 

“Diversity is something that can’t be limited to geographic location,” said Ben Peterson, freshman in English and brother of Sigma Lambda Beta, a Latino-based multicultural fraternity.

These definitions are subject to influence by location, origin, culture, religion, language, traditions and self-identity. With all of the possible variations of the meaning of the word, it seems difficult to represent all of the diversity on campus.

While Peterson said he felt that diversity shouldn’t only focus on location, Dagna said he felt that location had a lot to do with one’s individual definition of diversity.

The group MATES represents students from Argentina, Chile and Uruguay because they all share a similar culture. Dagna said that the name “MATES” comes from a tea called Mate that the Argentinian, Chilean and Uruguayan people share as part of their culture.

This is an example of why these three cultures were chosen to be represented in one organization since their cultures are so closely intertwined. However, not all Latino communities feel that their cultures are so close in resemblance.

Dagna said that in the history of Latin America and South America, different regions had different experiences with the immigrants or settlers that were coming over from Europe, which had a large effect on the future of the different regions’ cultures.

History plays an important role of defining diversity in a culture. Despite having a shared history, cultures can still have a different take on the meaning of diversity.