Irish frenzy, where’s QU diversity?

Katherine Rojas

This may go against everything Quinnipiac stands for, but lately the university has been highlighting Irish culture rather than all cultures.

Every student and member of the Quinnipiac community is drilled with the idea of diversity. My QU 101 professor wanted us to understand that diversity can be more than just a person’s ethnicity, being their point of views and values. However, Quinnipiac seems to believe diversity is about where a person’s ancestors originated.

Ireland’s Great Hunger Museum is opening soon and that is all our Quinnipiac emails consist of: lectures celebrating the opening, open houses and more updates on the museum. Yes, President John Lahey is very Irish, and was even awarded the Irish American of the Year Award by Irish America Magazine on March 15, 2011, but what about the other countries this school represents?

My family is from Nicaragua, and the fact that Quinnipiac has alternative spring break trips to Nicaragua attracted me to the school. I also wildly appreciate the Irish culture — I have a claddagh ring, but I’m not Irish! The fact that Quinnipiac does a lot for my native country and acknowledges the Irish famine, which doesn’t get enough attention anyway, took part in my decision to come to this university.

Another way Quinnipiac appreciates culture is by offering a plethora of languages a student can learn. I took that opportunity by taking Arabic, and I’ve been given opportunities to practice the language. The university also has many diverse cultured clubs, but you don’t really hear from them do you?

I know the Irish Club works with the Student Programming Board for St. Baldrick’s, the Black Student Union has its fashion show…but what about the Latino Cultural Society or the International Club?

I do think it is the students’ responsibility to have their cultures noticed, but that can be hard without much funding.

It’s basically a catch-22, because Quinnipiac is also all about community. A community involves diverse groups and individuals conjoined in one setting, but is it still a community if the different groups separate themselves? That’s basically what Quinnipiac does. We are all one community of diverse cultures but we still huddle together with similar people.

I remember studying in Dana’s common room freshman year when a resident assistant passed by the door but then swung it open when she noticed me. She insisted I join the Latino Cultural Society. At first I was bewildered by her approach,  then I was offended and confused. Just because I come from a hispanic background doesn’t mean I want to stay with just “my kind.”

My parents and entire family came to America in the 1970s to forget about the struggles and pain they left in their country and build up their lives in America.

My father came to America earlier than my mom with his mother and siblings and went straight to work. He went to Boricua College, became a carpenter and traveled from New York to Florida, and spent some time in Puerto Rico, then back to New York. He immersed himself into the American culture and is now fluent in English.

When it came to how my parents were going to raise us, my mother was pushing for incorporating the Nicaraguan culture, but my dad would always argue, “We’re in America, they need to know English.” My father didn’t want to be looked down on or thought of as just hispanics. If we would speak Spanish in the streets, he would stop us and tell us to speak in English because he didn’t want people to think we don’t know America’s language.

Don’t get me wrong, my parents love and embrace Nicaraguan culture — we have carne asada and gallo pinto almost every night! But it’s always difficult when we’re placed in the minority.

I don’t want to be noticed just for the color of my skin or my accent when I speak Spanish, but Quinnipiac does stress over “diversity.” I think we should appreciate everyone’s culture, but not pin point our differences. Defining diversity only to our heritage is not its true definition.