Buffalo State commended for campus diversity

Buffalo State was one of 56 institutions from across the nation to be recognized for its efforts in diversity.

The college received the 2013 Higher Education Excellence in Diversity Award from INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine earlier this month.

The award congratulates Buffalo State on its “broad definition” of diversity, including race, ethnicity, gender, veterans, people with disabilities, and members of the LBGT community, said Karen A. Clinton Jones, Buffalo State’s chief diversity officer.

It’s the only national honor of its kind, designed to “honor those institutions of higher education that recognize the importance of diversity and inclusion as part of their everyday campus culture,” according to a statement from Lenore Pearlstein, INSIGHT magazine publisher.

Diversity has become a major focus for Buffalo State.

Though the proximity of the campus to the West Side, where many refugee and immigrant families have changed the areas landscape, the faculty and staff at Buffalo Stateare encouraged to go the extra mile to promote diversity and create what Jones called a “campus climate.”

The college’s Anne Frank Project, created in 2006 to interpret intolerance, bigotry, genocide and racism through art, is often made mandatory by professors, allowingstudents to discover history, and hear stories from different perspectives.

Intellectual Foundation classes at Buffalo State are given cultural twists, such as Survey of African American Dance (DAN 230) or Introduction to Jewish Thought (REL 121).

Many departments nurture partnerships with the community, specifically the West Side, and send their students out to explore different cultures through local tutoring, street cleanups, city council meetings or other forms of volunteer work or activism.

The Global Book Hour, featured at the Amherst StreetWegmans since 2006, features Buffalo State educationstudents who read stories to local children. In addition, they also focus on one part of the world each day, spreading a little bit of diversity education back to the community.

Sophomore Justin Moore said Buffalo State’s diversity made his decision to transfer to the college’s computer information systems from Niagara County Community College in the spring a little bit easier.

“There just seems to be a lot more going on down here than opposed to at the University at Buffalo or at a school in the middle of nowhere,” Moore said. “It’s a school full of people who are different, and you feel it even when you’re just walking around. It’s the neighborhood, but it also seems like this is the place you want to go if you’re a little different too.”

Buffalo State will be featured along with the other recipients in the magazine’s November 2013 issue.

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