Dynamic changes in Lock Haven population

By Jessica Joseph & John Poli
Guest Writers

February 14, 2013

There has been an increase in diversity on Lock Haven University’s campus creating a multifarious learning environment for students in the last academic year.

“Diversity adds richness to learning, experience, and life in general,” said Eduardo Valerio, PhD in Spanish, in an email interview.

Lock Haven University has seen an increase in the minority races as the new classes of students come in each year. The university has seen an 82 percent increase in black students from the fall of 2011 semester to the fall of 2012 semester. Hispanic students have increased by 35.7 percent during this same time period. The number of white students during this time period has decreased by 1.67 percent, creating a more culturally rounded campus.

“Coming from a small town and coming to Lock Haven I expected it be a lot like the small town atmosphere, and I was shocked to find so many people from all over the state and also the country,” said Jade Mingle, a sophomore, health science major.

Increasing the number of minority students the university accepts each year adds different dynamics in the classroom. Diversity in the classroom adds to the overall learning experience by adding different opinions and perspectives in discussions. A white student from a small town in central Pennsylvania will have a different perspective and opinion then a black student from the inner city.

Dr. Valerio, a university spanish language professor, said, “Since my area is language and culture, it is natural for me to me to realize and take advantage of any diversity I find- even in relationship to life experiences and social status or age.”

Breona Browner, a sophomore health science major, said, “Having people from all sorts of backgrounds adds to the discussion in classes and helps me grasp a topic better because I get to see so many different opinions.”

The demographics have changed on campus due to the increase in acceptance of minority students. There has been a 22 percent increase of black students and a 6.98 increase in Asian students demographically. This change adds to life on campus and allows students to seek out people they never thought they would meet or converse culturally.

“As a freshman I was not prepared for what I would see in terms of people in my classes I never imaged I meet someone that graduated high school with only 40 students or meeting someone who was from another country,” said Jackie Viola, a freshman criminal justice major.

Having students see the different backgrounds of other students gives them a perspective on how other people around the world live. It prepares them for the real world and how they will have to communicate with people unlike themselves. Diversity in the classroom is one of the major steps in preparing students for life outside of college. Once students leave Lock Haven University their lives will be filled with people of all sorts of different backgrounds and they will be prepared to work with all sorts of people.

Linda Koch, Vice President of Student Affairs, said in an email interview “If we are preparing our students for their future careers, they will need to have exposure to people that come from a different country, a different educational experience, a different family background, and in some cases a different state of our country.”

Jessica Joseph is double-majoring in communication and political-science and can be contacted at jjoseph@lhup.edu and John Poli is a communication major and can be contacted at jpoli@lhup.edu


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