Public Affairs, The California State University

Bridging Cultures at the CSU

By Stephanie Thara

The CSU is committed to promoting diversity, inclusion and campus unity on each of its 23 universities. With the help of student-run organizations, the CSU is building an educational, cultural and social framework that allows each student to take what they learn from other cultures and apply it towards academic, social and career success.

CSU campuses maintain a vast array of fraternities/sororities and organizations that are dedicated to teaching fellow students how to nurture their cultural perspective and celebrate the world view of others. For instance:

CSUDH Male Success AllianceCal State Dominguez Hills’ Male Success Alliance partners with local schools and holds summits on campus to discuss the challenges and barriers male students face in finishing their degrees, and provides tools and resources to overcome them.

Humboldt State’s Finding Resources and Empowerment through Education spearheads UndocuWeek to raise awareness about the obstacles and barriers that undocumented individuals face. The event engages students through education workshops, film screenings, art and discussion forums.

CSU Monterey Bay’s National Association for the Advancement of Colored People organizes cultural conferences and voter registration drives to promote and educate students about civil rights, as well as bring the campus together to engage in dialogue about race, racism, classism and solidarity.

Sacramento State’s Zeta Sigma Chi schedules “Uncomfortable Conversations” to engage the campus community on controversial issues and hosts “Candy Around the World” where members pass out candy that is eaten around the world in exchange for participants taking a moment to learn a fact about that culture.

Sonoma State’s Black Scholars United plans to launch the “Becoming Seawolves United” project. Its goal is to raise money to bring speakers to campus to conduct workshops that educate students about tolerance while encouraging them to unify against discrimination.

Additionally, faculty, staff and students work together to bridge cultural gaps throughout the campus and increase the understanding of other races and ethnicities. For example:

Dia de Los Muertos at CSU San BernardinoCal State San Bernardino’s Association of Latino Faculty, Staff and Students is helping organize a Día de Los Muertos celebration to educate the campus and local community about the tradition behind the Mexican holiday. The event features community altars, family craft tables, art exhibits and Aztec dancers.

Fresno State’s President’s Commission on Human Relations and Equity—a group comprised of students, faculty, staff and community members dedicated to strengthening cultural competence—recently released a video to show the campus community how learning about other cultures can prepare them to succeed in the global society.