The Student News Site of Grand Valley State University

Grand Valley Lanthorn

The Student News Site of Grand Valley State University

Grand Valley Lanthorn

The Student News Site of Grand Valley State University

Grand Valley Lanthorn

GV campus diversity at an all time high

Courtesy GVSU

The Guardian reports that Generation Z, individuals born between 1997 and 2012, are expected to be the last generation to hold a white majority. The U.S. Census data predicts Generation Alpha, the people born between the years 2012 and 2025, is going to be the most diverse generation yet. 

Similarly, Grand Valley State University’s incoming class is the most diverse group and largest incoming group of students in the university’s history, according to GVSU. As diversity increases at GVSU, equity and diverse student support come to the forefront of discussion.

“I definitely think it is a positive thing to have a changing and diverse incoming student class. It’s important for the GVSU community to welcome change like that,” said Lauren Perez, a GVSU senior. 

Perez was born in northern Mexico and lived there for part of her childhood. She is thankful for the opportunities and organizations GVSU offers to students of different backgrounds.

“I have seen many diversity organizations that are really important for GVSU because we have such a homogenous area surrounding campus,” said Perez. “It makes me feel more comfortable having clubs that I can join and relate to based on my background.” 

GVSU offers a wide variety of cultural clubs and organizations for students of varying backgrounds. These organizations offer students an opportunity to find a community of people they can relate to and learn from within the university. Some student organizations include the Black Student Union, the Asian Student Union, the Latino Student Union, Laker Familia, the Native American Student Union and more.

Through the Division of Inclusion and Equity at GVSU, the university strives to establish a climate that welcomes and affirms the contributions of all students and employees. 

“Coming into Grand Valley, I was worried I would not be able to find people with different backgrounds, but I was comforted when I saw how there is a diverse range of professors,” Perez said. 

Chief of Staff to the President and Vice President for Inclusion and Equity at GVSU Dr. Jesse Bernal said it is important to foster an inclusive environment where all members of our community feel valued, heard and supported

“At GVSU, we believe that diversity is a strength that benefits our community in countless ways,” Bernal said. “We believe that everyone deserves to have access to higher education, with all their diverse backgrounds and circumstances and we strive to make our university a welcoming place.”

GVSU values inclusiveness and community which are integral to the university’s mission to educate students coming from all walks of life. The university strives to provide all members of its community with an inclusive environment and equitable opportunities for success.

“By bringing together individuals from different backgrounds, cultures, and experiences, we will be able to promote cross-cultural understanding and work to break down barriers,” Bernal said. “This will help build more compassionate, inclusive and dynamic communities.”

“Our students, faculty and staff will be exposed to new ideas and experiences, challenging us all to grow personally and professionally,” Bernal added.

Bernal believes bringing more diversity to GVSU impacts not only the campus but the wider Grand Rapids community and beyond.

“Our focus on collaboration and partnership with external stakeholders allows us to create change that has a positive and lasting impact not only on our university but on the larger Grand Rapids community,” Bernal said. “We are excited about the opportunity our diverse incoming class presents for us to learn from each other, grow together and build a better future for us all.”

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