Project Idea: Minority Groups at LMU

Our group decided that the idea we wanted to present on was minority groups at LMU. The groups we decided to discuss stood out particularly to us for different reasons, and we are planning to discuss each of our individual group’s in detail.

The first group we are planning on discussing is First-Generation College Students. As a first-generation college student myself, I hope to show the perspective of the first-generation student. At LMU we have a “FIrst-To-Go” program that could be beneficial in comparing statistics in terms of college acceptance rates, and difficulties in financial aid. I hope to also address the challenges faced by first-gen students, such as adjusting to college life, and having a support system, as well as the possible advantages that might come with being the first in a family to attend university, such as opportunities within the university. I hope to distinguish what separates the first-to-go students (if anything) from non first-generation students, and what makes them have a different, unique, or interesting story to tell. I am interested to look at the patterns (if there are any) with the involvements and social activities, as well as the academic standings of first to go students. Finally, I want to discuss and present why this group is a minority, and why they specifically chose to attend LMU.

Of all the ethnic minorities that make up the student population of Los Angeles’ Loyola Marymount University, Native Hawaiians/Pacific Islanders have statistically the least representation. Even with 39 states and 71 countries being represented, only 0.1% of students reign from/have ancestral ties to either the Polynesian, Melanesian, or Micronesian Pacific Island Regions (not including the debated addition of the Philippines). Even with the small population, LMU makes an effort to create a big community with over ten organizations, made up of both American and International Pacific Islanders. With this effort of providing groups, clubs and services, Pacific Islanders are most often grouped with Asians. This can be seen as negating their identity and marginalizing their culture. In a video/slide presentation, we can address what’s it’s actually like to be part of the least represented ethnic minority at LMU.

The African-American community at LMU is an interesting group of students, faculty, and staff that are presented with challenges and equal opportunities to shape their experience on campus. While African-American students makes up 6% of the total student body at LMU, the community between them seems much larger. It is only in times when students reflect on the demographics of their classroom or when running for large positions outside of the small community do they feel like the minority. It is these experiences in fact that are the challenges for these students. While not all curriculum dives into the experience of being black or social justice and race-related issues, African-American students often feel that they must be the voice of the whole population when these subjects arise and insensitivity and ignorance to racial relations might effect how a students feels about their position in the larger world. It doesn’t however effect the way they feel they relate to those immediately around them, not does it effect their overall academic success as an undergraduate student. It also becomes an issue when students want to hold large e-board or student’s government positions outside of the African-American community. Also students who join non African-American sororities and fraternities are often met with racism, prejudice, and/or racial insensitivity. African-American students, just like other minorities on campus have formed their own clubs and organizations and under the Office of Black Student Services and other offices on campus dedicated to minorities, have been able to progress both academically and socially at LMU. The social life, which fluctuates often, consists of students from all backgrounds, locations and ages who either are significantly involved or far removed from the social web on campus. Organizations such as Black Student Union, Sisters in Solidarity, Brothers of Consciousness, National Society for Black Engineers and the Umoja Alliance bring students together both to discuss circumstances affecting the community and to have a good time. The absence of houses or locations where African-American students can fellowship does however effect the overall way students communicate and interact with each other. The reality of going to college as an African-American in the United States sets the overall foundation of what one hopes to gain as a student going to a Predominantly White Institution. Most students come into school aware that they are a minority and have a positive outlook and attitude about what they can gain and give during their time in college. Many African-American students prior to college are in financial hardships and going to college is a difficult feat from many, who are challenged by social, mental and environmental factors alike. LMU however, presents a strong image of how not only are minorities on this campus equally respected and valued but that there are programs and initiatives in place to ensure their success on the bluff.

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