Guest Commentary Opinion

Op-ed: Diversity lives on despite legislative changes


Jose Gonzalez-Campelo/The Cougar

Editor’s Note: Sarah Khan is the director of the Council for Cultural Activities. 

In the wake of changes on campus following the introduction of SB 17, students are expressing a range of  feelings.

Some believe these changes are impacting their college experience negatively, while others see it as an opportunity to empower and enhance diversity. In adapting to a post-DEI campus, it’s crucial for us to focus on the bright side and on how we can make our next steps count.

Many students are already doing just that. Clubs, organizations and grassroots movements are flourishing —  providing platforms for expression, support and advocacy. While SB 17 did deprive many communities of much-needed resources, it also led to an inspiring grassroots movement to fill the void left in its wake. 

These organizations have taken steps to ensure ongoing programming and a welcoming environment. Despite the acknowledged absence of certain resources, students from diverse backgrounds are coming together to not only recognize but celebrate diversity on campus.

“Even with recent regulatory changes, SPB remains dedicated to nurturing an inclusive environment through our events and embracing diverse perspectives. “ said Samantha Sadeghi, president of the Student Program Board. “Our events thrive when the community actively participates.”

On campus, student leaders continue to champion cultural diversity — evident in recent events like the Diwali event hosted by the Society of Asian Scientists and Engineers, or the Autumn Harvest Festival hosted by the Japanese Language and Culture Community. 

With students focusing more on their personal efforts on campus to resist these changes, it is as if we are weaving a tight knit community — creating new spaces within existing ones where we can share and learn each other’s stories.

We’re not leaving anyone behind or attempting to shift focus from major distressing changes, but rather throwing out safety nets so every student knows they have got a place to land if things get tough.

“Ever since the LGTBQ Resource Center has been shut down, I hang out in the carrel spaces. I meet new students in their cubicles from different cultures, and they have always invited me to attend their events, or join their community.” said Matthew Nguyen, a Mathematics Senior. “The sense of community I was able to find makes my heart happy.”

Our campus is undoubtedly experiencing change, but it’s the adaptability and resilience of the student body that stands out. As we navigate these shifts, students collectively showcase the strength found in unity and the celebration of diversity.

From art exhibitions that celebrate cultural diversity to community service projects that address local needs, these initiatives showcase the incredible impact students have, and their willingness to take those steps.

They not only fill the void left by institutional changes but also serve as powerful reminders of the proactive spirit that defines the student body.

Sarah Khan is the director of the Council for Cultural Activities and can be reached at [email protected]

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