Academic Read #7: Gonzaga’s Unity in Diversity

From our Statement of Affirmation: The values of a Jesuit University include “that the university fosters an appreciation for the cultural, ethnic, and religious diversity of its local communities and the wider world.”

There are 28 countries, 45 U.S. states, more than 20 religions, over 100 active clubs and organizations, and 75 fields of study represented at Gonzaga University. These were overwhelming numbers for me as a freshman! However, as I have embarked upon my journey at Gonzaga I have become thankful for the diverse opportunities this school has provided me to interact with. As each year passes, this school is proud to say “this is the most diverse class at Gonzaga.” Now what does that really mean? That Gonzaga have a greater representation of minority races on our campus each year? Yes, that is true, but I see it as the diversity of things that we can do, the diversity at Gonzaga lies in the different organization we become a part of, the clubs we take part in and the individual passions we bring. Even though our campus might not be the most diverse campus, it is the most inclusive campus.

One thing I learned fairly quickly at GU was to embrace my identity, not to hide it. We are all Zags who come from different backgrounds and bring something unique to this campus. Our cultures, passions, and ambitions are what makes this campus’ diversity. It is that diversity that allows us to become well-informed and culturally aware individuals.


With so much diversity comes curiosity–which is great! It is important to ask questions outside the four walls of the classroom. I come from a minority faith practice and had never read the Bible, nor have I ever known that much about Christianity. My religion courses sparked much curiosity within me and I asked my roommates constantly about what I had learned in class. We came from vastly different backgrounds, but by having these conversations we were able to understand each other better. It is important to embrace our differences and express ourselves, but it is equally important to be open-minded and to take the time to learn about your peers and what makes them unique. Being unique will cause challenges during your journey at Gonzaga, but these obstacles are an opportunity to educate your peers about your identity, your story and what makes you, you!

My favorite event at Gonzaga is Diversity Monologues. This annual event captures how diversity is defined at Gonzaga University. It is a competition that provides Gonzaga students a space to engage their creative voices in sharing their experiences with diversity. Everyone has a story and are made up of multiple social identities. The Diversity Monologues provide a forum for Gonzaga students to express their lived experience through their personal cultural lens. It is an amazing event that brings our campus together to learn about each other’s stories and to embrace the differences amongst us. Whether those be racial, ethnical, social, or economical difference, we are able to realize that we are one school, one community, one family…together we are ALL Zags!

Yusra Hamidani is a junior from Federal Way, Washington. She’s majoring in business administration with concentrations in marketing, management information systems, and operations. Her favorite place on campus is the Jundt Amphitheater overlooking Lake Arthur.

IGNITE Question: During Orientation Weekend, you’ll be asked to reflect on your identity, and what diverse backgrounds you come from. As Yusra wrote, diversity comes in all forms and ideas, shaped by your unique experiences. How are YOU diverse?

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