“To the undergraduates in this room, it’s up to you, it’s in your hands,” said Dr. Albert Camarillo, director of the Center for Comparative Studies in race and ethnicity at Stanford University. “You are the leaders of the next generation and where this society goes you will take it.”
About 800 people: faculty, students, staff and members of the community, filled the ballroom for the event “Why Diversity Matters.” It was hosted by the university’s newly formed Comparative Race and Ethnic Studies Department, which as of this spring offers a major and minor.
Camarillo, one of the founders of the field of Mexican American history, told the audience: “There’s no turning back and we are a better society for what we’ve achieved, but there’s still real problems.”
Liz Diaz, a Fort Worth resident, said the event was “informative, interesting, and eye opening.”
First-year student Ally Elliott said the talk reminded her of what diversity means. “I think it [diversity] is just a matter of time to embrace what others have to offer, that’s different from us.”
Sophomore Kate Moore compared the talk to the TCU mission statement: “As part of TCU’s campus I think diversity is really important as part of our mission statement is ‘developing ethical and global leaders’ so in order to do that we need to be part of the global community and understanding people from different walks of life.”
Jennifer Martinez, a TCU sophomore, said the lack of diversity at TCU took a little getting used to.
“Coming to TCU was a cultural shock as it’s a predominantly white school,” Martinez said. “But it’s really nice to see people different from you that are willing to make a difference. I think it’s good to see that they are trying to incorporate us into society,” she said. “I really liked the event and think they should have more so everybody can become aware that we’re here too and someone listening and willing to make a difference.”
Moore said she was also encouraged by the event. “I think TCU is doing a great job trying to figure out how do we address the issue of diversity and this is definitely a great starting point of getting students involved and getting the information out in front of people and I think that’s step one.”
The event was sold out with 802 reservations and about 91 on the waiting list, said Lynn Herrera, who helped organize of the event as a core staff member of CRES.
“It was a fantastic turnout and I’m pleased with the number of students that came that didn’t have to come. A lot of local teachers and community members also attended,” said Herrera, who is assistant to the dean of the John V. Roach Honors College.
Elliott said it wasn’t important why students came. “Even if they are just coming for extra credit, it is spreading the word and getting students involved.”