By Colton Greganti, Chattanooga, Tenn. — Diversity is a crucial aspect of life. It is an aspect that brings growth and change to any individual who becomes involved in it. Often times, diversity is associated with idea of the inclusion of people from different races; however it is much more than that.

“Something that most people don’t understand, or don’t know is that diversity is broader than just race,” said Dr. Bryan Samuel, director of Equity and Diversity.

Diversity includes ideas and perspectives found throughout all different walks of life, and shows that every person can learn from others. The bringing together of different outlooks creates an environment that allows every individual to flourish. Diversity also broadens the mind of any individual who invests enough time in appreciating another’s way of life. It shows that there is not just one way to go about seeing and doing things.

“Without a diverse outlook on life, we would be stuck to one way of doing things. That would cause progress in any form to drastically slow, in not come to a complete stop,” said Benjamin Brooks, a sophomore from Morristown, Tenn.

A college campus is one of the best places for individuals to appreciate diversity. “This is the place where students get to learn new ideas and have new experiences,” said Tanner Blue, a graduate assistant at UTC’s Multicultural Center.

UTC is working quite hard to ensure diversity and equality amongst all students. There are many programs and departments established to make sure that every voice is heard. Another way UTC is pushing for complete equality is by opening up dialogues among both students and faculty, which focus on why diversity and equality are so important.

At one such event this week, Dr. Yolanda Moses, professor of Anthropology and Associate Vice Chancellor for Diversity, Equity and Excellence at the University of California, Riverside, will be coming to UTC. She is an expert on diversity and the change it brings to universities and college campuses. Her purpose at the campus is to continue to open the dialogue concerning diversity and inclusion. Students are welcomed to partake in this free event being held in the UC Chickamauga Room on Thursday, February 11.

It is thanks to programs like these that students are given the chance to gain knowledge and insight from another perspective. This is a valuable tool that is applicable to nearly every moment throughout life. Being in a diverse environment is very crucial to the growth of an understanding individual.

“It prepares us for being able to meaningfully engage and interact with people whose background are different from our own when we go out into a global work market. Thereby, it ensures that a degree from the university of Chattanooga means not only the you have a competency in a skill… but you also have an ability to interact well and meaningfully with people who you have to work with,” said Dr. Samuel.