Culture and Change in College

A story of diversity, ignorance, social responsibility...and selfies

A story of diversity, ignorance, social responsibility…and selfies

College is a place for the constant shaping and reshaping of one’s personality and perspectives. One of the both challenging and rewarding experiences of going to college is being exposed to individuals of differing everything: background, race, ethnicity, religion… The list goes on and on. It’s a gratifying experience, as you can learn about varying perspectives on life through different cultures and people. However, you may also encounter some students or other individuals who are consciously or unconsciously intolerant of diverse people or perspectives. Their ignorance can lead to comments and actions that can become exclusionary at best and hate-filled at worst.

If you are confronted with ignorance on campus, what do you do? If one of your close friends is confronted with ignorance, what do you do? If someone near you who you don’t even know is confronted with ignorance, what do you do?

This is your opportunity and responsibility to direct the individual to respect and tolerance. If you’re not sure where to start, I would argue that practically all college campuses have some type of program that teaches tolerance and acceptance. For example, at my school, University of Wisconsin—Superior, we have a surprisingly high number of international students in our student body. We have many diversity clubs; one of our largest campus events is Cultural Night, where individuals and groups perform an act, song, or dance from their respective countries. We also have an international dinner that gives students a literal taste of different countries! In turn, the various countries and students from them are embraced and celebrated.

Universities, both public and private, need to be a safe place for all students to learn and succeed. The point of the higher education system is to do just that: propel students to a higher level of awareness, skills, and education. We shouldn’t just do that academically—we should do this culturally and personally. We are the agents of change, and the college structure actually supports rather than hinders opportunities to engage in dialogue and action to bring equality and acceptance to all.

Another example, one of my friends, Scott McNorton, noticed ignorance in our community and decided to do something about it. His idea was simple: take a selfie with someone, write a caption, and share a message of peace rather than hate. What was born? #SelfiesWithMuslims.

Scott has taken a lot of selfies with a lot of people on our campus and in our community who identify as Muslim. Included in his caption, and now his movement’s mission, is the following: “Combating ignorance and hatred that has developed towards the Muslim community by promoting acceptance and tolerance through pictures and experiences!”

His hashtag movement has gotten a lot of public exposure, and people are beginning to see their Muslim neighbors, friends, students, and peers in a light of understanding rather than confusion or blissful ignorance.

Like Scott, you can be an agent for cultural and social reformation simply because you are an individual who is working to better themselves through education. Why not use this information to help promote acceptance? Your university, through its mission, students, faculty, and structure, are there to help you. But in the end, it’s up to you.

You can find Scott’s #SelfiesWithMuslims page here.

Like what you’re reading?

Join the CollegeXpress community! Create a free account and we’ll notify you about new articles, scholarship deadlines, and more.

Join Now

campus life college diversity culture diversity social responsibility tolerance

About Victoria Greer

Hey there! My name is Victoria and I am an English Education major with a Spanish Education minor at the University of Wisconsin—Superior. I am an RA on campus and enjoy being active in campus theater and music programs. I love to read, write, sing, act, and hang out with friends! I'm a Kansas City, Missouri, native who enjoys Broadway musicals, classic literature, Jesus Christ, and inspirational quotes. I'm very much a people person and am always up for meeting new friends and learning new things.


Join our community of
over 5 million students!

CollegeXpress has everything you need to simplify your college search, get connected to schools, and find your perfect fit.

Join CollegeXpress
Maria  Fernanda

Maria Fernanda

High School Class of 2023

CollegeXpress is always telling you with time to spare when to apply for certain scholarships, what they require, and if you’re eligible or not. They also provide helpful tips for both incoming college students and current college students, such as what to absolutely have in your dorm.

Lu Diehl

Lu Diehl

High School Class of 2022

I never would have found the college I plan on attending without CollegeXpress! I've always been a person of ambition and have been dreaming of studying and working on my passion for law, legal studies, and political science. Washington College is where I plan on pursuing my career. My journey with my education has been difficult, and oftentimes, I was told I would never amount to much, but now I'm dual enrolled at Caroll Community College and have had experience in the fields I am dedicated to. Without the help of CollegeXpress (even in its early days), I would never have found Washington College and the information I need to apply and become a part of their community.

Rose Kearsley

Rose Kearsley

High School Class of 2021

CollegeXpress has seriously helped me out a lot, especially when it comes to scholarships and studying for tests like the ACT. I also really love the financial help. It’s a little harder to pay because I live with a family of eight, so any help is appreciated. Thanks for this opportunity!

Ida Akoto-Wiafe

Ida Akoto-Wiafe

High School Class of 2022

I wanted a school that wasn't too far away from home and could provide me with a full-ride scholarship. CollegeXpress helped me put into perspective the money I had to pay to attend those schools, which ultimately drove me to choose to attend a community college first to get used to being in college before transferring to the University of Michigan–Ann Arbor, one of the colleges I was able to research further on CollegeXpress.

Damian Rangel

Damian Rangel

September 2021 Mini Scholarship Winner, High School Class of 2022

CollegeXpress has helped me tackle college expenses, which will allow me to put more of my time and effort into my studies without the need of worrying as much about finances.

College Matches

Colleges You May Be Interested In

Goldey-Beacom College

Wilmington, DE

Barry University

Miami Shores, FL

SUNY Polytechnic Institute

Utica and Albany, NY

University of Redlands

Redlands, CA