posted 2012-10-25 13:26:49

Princeton Review Names Hunter College Highly Diverse

Number one school for "lots of race/class interaction"

Apneet Kaur

Features Editor

Additional reporting by Lisa Babel

Photo courtesy of Hunter College
On any given school day as you walk through the halls of Hunter College’s campuses, it is clear to see that the student body is highly diverse in terms of ethnicity and background. In its most recent publication of the Princeton Review, Hunter College was recognized as the number one school in the category for “Lots of Race/Class Interaction.”

Of the 27% of applicants accepted at Hunter College every year, the Princeton Review states the school’s demographics are compiled of 24% of Asians, 11% of African Americans, 39% of Caucasians, 18% of Hispanics, and 7% of International students. While Asians and Caucasians together make up half of the school’s population, other races are represented in significant percentages given the fact that there are upwards of 22,000 students currently enrolled at Hunter.

Eija Ayravainen, vice president for student affairs and dean of students said, “It is a privilege to work in a school where students, staff, and faculty are from all over the world, speak many languages, and have different ways of seeing and experiencing the world.”

For students, there are numerous advantages to being in a lecture hall where your professor is from another country, and your fellow students are from all other the world. The same is to be said if you are a student from abroad at Hunter college. These students bring together a myriad of opinions formed through their individual backgrounds and experiences. It is helpful to hear the ideas of other students that you may not consider or stumble upon through your own thought or research.

For Joe Tesoro, ‘13, a Music Performance major, these differences play an important part in his education. He said, “A lot of people come from a lot of different backgrounds, especially in my department. To me, the different musical influences people bring to the rehearsals are great.” However, he sees diversity as “bridging gaps” too. Tesoro added, “In the classroom, you see that some things can be very different, but in some cases they’re not.” Students learn acceptance and negotiation, and other skills that are invaluable to being successful outside a college environment.

Nicholas Silipo, 20, Sociology major, said, “Hunter offers more opportunities for students to be introduced to various perspectives that make [the student] more aware and understanding of those around you.”

Hunter College President, Jennifer Raab said, “The American dream lives at Hunter, where one out of five of our students are not born in the United States. This academic year, our incoming class alone represents 67 countries and speaks 59 different languages, from Tagalog to Hebrew to Haitian Creole.”

However, Patricia Vargas feels differently about the subject. She said, “To be honest I haven’t seen that [diversity] so much. I’m majoring in Early Childhood Education with with a Bilingual extension and I’m surprised at the lack of cultural diversity I see in the program.” Vargas expressed that there was one majority racial group in her specific program.

The Princeton Review reports that nearly one million students were interviewed to form conclusions on findings, and 400 colleges participated. According to their website, the process includes an 80-question survey with “five answer choices that range across a grid or scale.” Essentially, this type of research is a “consensus-based assessment, and each ranking list reports the top 20 colleges (of the 377 in the book) in a specific category.” The comprehensive survey is just another measure that exhibits the Hunter College’s lively spirit and commitment to an enriched educational experience for all its students.

One of the factors accounted for in the rankings of “Lots of Race/Class Interaction” is how students get along with the local community. For instance, Hunter students are engaged with the Upper East Side community, as many students hold jobs at neighborhood coffee houses and retail stores. Additionally, Hunter College hosts a program called “Hunter Helpers”, in which clients (neighborhood residents seeking services) hire out Hunter students to be dog walkers, tutors, baby sitters, and party assistants, among other things.

John Rose, dean for diversity and compliance said, “Hunter is truly a microcosm of New York City, where differing views, ideas and beliefs are openly expressed, respected and appreciated.”

Mir Shajee, ‘14, Psychology major, said, “I mean you won’t see that [diversity] at most out of state colleges.” He added, “It’s nice to know people can be free to express their ideas without facing discrimination.”

“We take pride in our diverse student body that represents not only the entire nation, but the world,” said Raab. “We foster an environment where students from all walks of life come together with a common goal – academic excellence.”

Hunter College’s national standing continues to climb, demonstrating its ability to exceed expectations and further its ambitions. It is evident that the voices at Hunter agree with what was reported by the Princeton Review. Students can work towards maintaining their good name and positive ranking by demonstrating support and embracing the unique melting pot that is Hunter College.