DIVERSITY & INCLUSION

We could say you are welcome at Calvin, no matter your background—but that might be missing the point. You are welcome at Calvin, and your background does matter. Our backgrounds are part of our identities and shape the stories of our lives. We know that creating a welcoming space where all stories are heard and valued makes for richer conversations, scholarship and Christian community.

At Calvin, we are committed to creating an atmosphere where diversity and inclusion flourish. Our commitment includes welcoming community members from various races, ethnicities, cultures, genders and abilities. We don't have it all figured out yet, but with grounded hearts and open minds, we are building a stronger community in every area of campus.

 

SHARING OUR STORIES

What does it mean to be part of a diverse community? How can we experience authentic inclusion? Sharing stories helps us to interpret these questions and respond to the world around us. The following quotes offer glimpses into the pursuit of diversity and inclusion in our community.

  • Communication prof advocates for people of disability

    Communication Arts and Sciences professor Chris Smit advocates for all those who work and think a little differently. Smit is a person with a disability who often uses his own experiences to help students figure out how to embrace differences rather than fear them. In an original blog post from smitwork.com, Smit talks about the importance of flexibility in helping students succeed:

    “We must continue to work through the spirit of flexibility. If a different learner needs alternative formats for textbooks, tests, or any other class requirement, the flexible professor will not be puzzled or alarmed by such requests. Instead, she will work with the student to figure out how to enable that student's success. The flexible professor will also work with the new media mind in ways that accommodate new skills, practices, and preferences that play influential roles in learning.”

    Chris Smit
  • Calvin grad combats poverty in Harlem by expanding students’ worlds

    Deborah Walker '05 is a teacher in Harlem Children's Zone, an organization that covers 100 blocks of Central Harlem and takes a comprehensive cradle-to-college approach to combatting poverty. She sees her Calvin education influencing her everyday work with sixth-grade students:

    "Everyone's around the mission of getting these kids to go to college and combatting poverty and expanding people's worlds, because a lot of people in New York—if you live in a certain borough, especially if you're born in poverty, you don't get beyond your block or beyond your borough. Teaching for me is an act of service, just interacting with kids and finding ways to love them and let them know they're cared for and they matter. This is something I love and I'm passionate about, but … it's me giving something to God and giving something back to the world, in a way. That's what I learned here [at Calvin] that I take to every place I go."

    frybread
  • Working for racial reconciliation as a white majority student

    Connor Schmidt '14, of Dallas, Texas, recently met with diversity consultant Latrece Moffett at a diversity conference. He recalls how Moffett inspired him to look for opportunities to work for justice and reconciliation as a member of the majority:

    “[Moffett said,] 'For most of my life I've been fighting against what I'm going to tell you. The best way to get disinterested students involved is to find someone from the majority to champion the idea that this is something they need to be invested in. Only when one of their majority peers calls them to action will they be inclined to follow.' When I admitted to her that I felt like I wasn't using my position as a majority white male at Calvin to bring about change and that I felt like I could be doing so much more she looked me in the eye. She said that I was here for a purpose; I was like an Esther preparing the way. All I needed to do was trust Him to guide my steps.”

    Connor Schmidt
President Le Roy with students
My hope is that the Calvin College community becomes increasingly marked by diversity, inclusive excellence, cultural competency, and global awareness. Affirming the fundamental Christian belief that all humans are made in the image of God, Calvin College must address the sins of inequality and exclusion around race and ethnicity, and act toward a vision of shalom marked by racial and ethnic justice and reconciliation. Moving toward these objectives helps Calvin College to achieve its FEN commitments and accomplish its primary work of preparing students for lives of renewal in an increasingly diverse world.” President Le Roy, 2013-14 Multicultural Affairs Committee report

“My hope is that the Calvin College community becomes increasingly marked by diversity, inclusive excellence, cultural competency, and global awareness. Affirming the fundamental Christian belief that all humans are made in the image of God, Calvin College must address the sins of inequality and exclusion around race and ethnicity, and act toward a vision of shalom marked by racial and ethnic justice and reconciliation. Moving toward these objectives helps Calvin College to achieve its FEN commitments and accomplish its primary work of preparing students for lives of renewal in an increasingly diverse world.”
—President Le Roy, 2013-14 Multicultural Affairs Committee report

JOIN THE CONVERSATION

You're invited to speak your experience and listen to the experiences of others. Following God and learning from our peers, we can live out the biblical principles of reconciliation as we fight the sin of racism and celebrate the diverse body of Christ.

  • When learning isn't enough

    We are eager to learn, but how often do we take the time to unlearn the stereotypes and misperceptions that build barriers between us? For almost 15 years, students have championed the tradition of Unlearn Week, a dedicated week of events and discussions about multiculturalism and anti-racism. With past events like the World Food Fair, Poetry Jam, and a one-man play on racial identity, each year's Unlearn Week promises to bring memorable celebrations and conversations about the cultures around and among us.

    Unlearn week leaders
  • Being the change

    Are you a justice-seeker? Do you want to alleviate poverty, stand up against racism and change a culture embedded with materialism? Calvin's John M. Perkins Leadership Fellows program, named for civil rights activist John M. Perkins, equips students to dig deep into the servant-leadership style of Christ. After graduation, Perkins Fellows will take their skills and knowledge into communities to empower others through Christ-like leadership.

    Students with John M. Perkins
  • Dance, sing and celebrate

    Rangeela, meaning "colorful" in Hindi, is a colorful performance indeed. Sometimes called Calvin's international variety show, the evening of learning and entertainment features song, dance and fashion from around the globe. Whether you participate on stage or in the audience, don't miss the sold-out experience each February.

    Rangeela
  • Growing together

    You don't have to be a student to benefit from Calvin's educational events on multiculturalism. In addition to an abundance of events throughout the year, Calvin opens the free From Every Nation Symposium on Race each March to all faculty, staff, students, alumni and community members. Listen to inspiring presenters, ask tough questions and watch your world expand through this unique event series.

    Randy Buursma speaking
  • 13%

    U.S. ethnic minorities in Calvin’s student body

    10%

    International students in Calvin’s student body

    140

    Multicultural scholarships awarded to U.S. ethnic minorities

  • 500

    Students benefit from disability services

    $2,000

    Scholarship awarded to all incoming students who are first-generation college students.

    45-55%

    Male-female student ratio

 

COMMUNITY RESOURCES

No one member of our community can effectively work for diversity and inclusion alone. However, by working together through both trials and victories, we can create true change on our campus and around the world. Here are some resources to help you get connected.