UNF strives toward diversity

Stephanie Blaum

Edythe Abdullah. Photo by Stephanie Blaum.
Edythe Abdullah. Photo by Stephanie Blaum.

The university’s Presidential office is trying to improve diversity at UNF. Special Advisor to the President Edythe Abdullah, who is in charge of enhancing diversity at the university, said UNF students will be given an opportunity to change the way they interact with and view other cultures.

On March 10, students will receive an email containing a 10-15 minute climate-change survey on race and ethnicity. The survey will be multiple choice, although a few questions will allow students to write comments.

She said she hopes the survey will demonstrate UNF’s strengths and weaknesses in regards to diversity. Abdullah hopes to capitalize on the strengths and reduce the weaknesses so that UNF can be an inclusive and diverse place.

“The world is changing and we are becoming a more global society,” Abdullah said.

She said her goal is to make sure students leave UNF able to communicate with people of different cultures. In a world where international affairs are prominent, Abdullah notes that it’s important to be able to communicate effectively with others.

Abdullah said the university wants to enhance diversity on campus in order to ensure that students who graduate from UNF have experiences with all kinds of people and cultures. “Having experience makes you a stronger individual for the workplace, stronger individual for the community, and hopefully relieves some of the tension we have in the world now.”

Kari Hermida, history major, said she thinks UNF already has a lot of diversity in comparison to a community college in Ocala she attended. She said she saw a lot of people from different countries and backgrounds.

Xavier Bariuan, also a UNF student, said he thinks the diversity here is limited. When asked if he would take a survey to enhance UNF’s diversity, he said yes.

Abdullah said there are no initiatives set in stone yet. She said there are some ideas, but doesn’t want to plan anything until she sees how the community feels about it.

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