INDIANAPOLIS — Indiana University (IU) is marking a major milestone in its push to ensure its student body encompasses many different backgrounds and cultures. IU says it set a record for the number of domestic students of color enrolled this year across all campuses, almost 25,000 students.
WRTV spoke with three IU Bloomington students — all from different backgrounds.
"I can talk about (diversity) all day. That's my bread and butter," said Kyle Seibert, Student body president at IU Bloomington.
"When I got here, it was more of a culture shock than I expected," said Joa’Quinn Griffin, a Junior at IU Bloomington.
"I did go to a predominately white high school," said Tsehai Bean, an incoming freshman at IU Bloomington.
All shared similar feelings about the importance of having a diverse campus.
"We're bringing in probably the most diverse group of freshmen we ever had," said Seibert.
This year's incoming freshmen class pushed the diversity count to more than 30% across all campuses, averaging about 25,000 students of color.
At the IU Bloomington campus, students of color make up 28% of the student body — with international students increasing to 5,347 students.
At the IUPUI campus, nearly 35% of students of color have enrolled.
And 30% from IU's regional campuses. Read the full article, Diversity, academic success key themes in IU's fall 2022 class.
"We have students from every Indiana county, but every U.S. state as well and 126 countries," said Chuck Carney, spokesperson for IU.
Carney said this change didn't happen overnight. The university poured thousands, if not millions, into some initiatives to recruit students of color from underrepresented backgrounds.
"Things like the Hudson Hollands program, the group scholars’ program and of course 21-century scholars help along the way," said Carney.
Griffin and Bean say they have benefitted from these types of programs.
“Being around people that look like me, come from different walks of life, and truly know what it's like being a black student," Bean said.
"Hearing that universities are still trying to increase these things, it's kind of hard to take in sometimes because these things should already be incorporated in the things that you do," Griffin said.
Now that IU has seen such an increase in diversity, the biggest question now is how does the university keep attracting diverse students?
"One thing I want to see this year is breaking down barriers between different groups. People tend to run to where they are comfortable," Seibert said.
"Sending more funding to the cultural centers, providing more service to those mental health organizations, providing more support to advocacy and organizations on campus. That will enhance the student experience on campus," Griffin said.
IU invested $30 million into getting more faculty and staff of color across all campuses this school year to fairly represent those students they want to attract from different backgrounds.