Friday, May 3, 2013

Diversity Through My Lens

We have all heard the idea that in college, you learn both inside and outside of the classroom.  As I prepared for my collegiate journey to Hofstra, I can recall day dreaming about how I would come to these epiphanies that college promised. Would I need to travel to another country, or acquire an interest in postmodern art? Maybe, I would “find myself” through the challenges of leaving the security of home. While traveling is a beautiful opportunity that I believe should be taken and my classes have given me a new appreciation for several things including art, it turns out that college hasn’t been where I’ve “found myself” but more so where I am finding the courage to let live who I’ve always known myself to be. The resource that has been a main tool in quenching my thirst of learning about the world, and building a bridge between what I am passionate about and how I can use those passions to make a positive impact, has been the Office of Multicultural and International Student Programs (MISPO).

As a person who appreciates diversity for the way it adds beauty and liveliness to our world, I work  not only to eliminate the complacency of tolerating differences, but rather taking a step further to embrace differences. Finding the indispensable value in how these different shades of one’s self so vibrantly color the world, it is satisfying to explore how all of what makes us unique actually makes us connected. MISPO encourages students to engage in this exploration through educational programs and outreach. The office provides support to international and multicultural student leaders and is also a resource for domestic students who are interested in learning about culture and diversity related issues. In support of this purpose, MISPO offers several programs during the semester including the “Diversity, Dialogue, and Desserts Series”, which sheds light on topics such domestic violence, identifying as LGBTQ in America today and gender inequalities to name a few.  Another series of events that are immensely mind opening are the “Living in America” which include topics such as dating, making friends, surviving college financially and provides the opportunity for cultural exchange between international and domestic students.

As college students, we have several opportunities to develop as leaders. It is essential to first understand who we are so that we can better understand others. By realizing that leadership begins within it is important to understand why embracing multiculturalism is key. As different as we may initially presume ourselves to be, it takes one attendance of “Flavors of our Neighborhood”, a collaborative event between MISPO and Off Campus Living and Commuting Students to realize that the similarities we share! Through this event, which allows us to explore culture through food, I learned that the Caribbean favorite dish of plantains originate in Asia. In the words of the songwriter, Marla Lewis, “We all laugh in the same language”, and I’d like to add that pain, sadness, joy, and love are all human emotions which overcome geographical, economic or any other kind of social boundary.

For more information on MISPO programs please visit or email us at

Guest Blogger: Joanna Soares, Class of 2016

1 comment:

  1. Miss Soares, The director of the MISPO posted this and I was taken at several levels. Initially, as it described better than I could have felt it, the journey I took, guided by your current director, starting 7 years ago when we met. I'd be surprised if she did not enrich your journey as well, if not yet, just wait and enjoy the ride.......I have no idea what your major or future is but, I can assure you that your ability to put words to your thoughts and dreams is extraordinary. No matter what your goals and achievements, that ability to communicate so accurately yet poetically, will be an asset throughout your lifetime.....It is so true that the "outside the classroom" time is vital to a complete education, some would say , even more important. Keep thinking, keep tranposing your thoughts for others to enjoy, savor and emulate !