The Chronicle’s View: Where are all the non-international students?

With its recent observation of International Night, the U’s International Student Council celebrated its largest event of the year, attracting representatives from more than 20 countries and raising money to aid in the tsunami relief effort for Southeast Asia.

However, while an undeniably diverse assortment of cultures and ethnicities assured that foreign cultures were dutifully represented at International Night, a noticeable lack of American students highlighted a problem often undiagnosed in terms of diversity at the U: The general malaise that characterizes non-international students’ attitude toward diversification.

Make no mistake, the notions driving International Night are admirable-edifying the general campus as to the nature of international student life, and generating a more intuitive understanding of international culture. It is essential to fostering an accepting and unbiased U student community.

However, the problem that this year’s International Night, and enumerable other events, encounter is that it its noble message is often preached only to its choir.

It goes without saying that international students are likely aware of the presence of the U’s international student community-they’re not the ones who need to attend events in order to broaden their perspectives

Non-international students, on the other hand, very much do.

Diversity is largely a mindset, and its one that must be adopted by more than just the already-diverse international student population.

Events like International Night are meant to unite people behind a cause-they are meant to bring people together. These events are counterproductive to the accomplishment of their goals when they only manage to unite their respective students organizers because these students are already obviously united.

What is inferred by non-international students’ lack of desire to attend international events is that the common, American student at the U still isn’t recognizing the U’s international community-a fact that cripples attempts to diversify.

Even if every single international student at the U is aware of our international community, that still leaves an overwhelming number of students oblivious. As long as the majority of U students remain obtuse, attempts to increase awareness and diversify the public mentality will keep hitting dead ends.

The question becomes, what is keeping non-international students from attending events like International Night and increasing diversity awareness? The likely answer has little to do with prejudice or animosity, and more to do with sheer laziness-the simple fact remains that most kids just don’t care enough to attend an event they are not personally linked to.

This is a ridiculous position because it implies that the level of diversity at the U does not affect all students-this is categorically untrue. A diverse student body would do wonders in terms of making students feel more at home at the U, and in turn, foster an intimate, inclusive environment. That’s something in which we all ought to be interested.