Diversity Activities for College Students

Instructor: Grace Pisano

Grace has a bachelor's degree in history and a master's degree in teaching. She previously taught high school in several states around the country.

In the college setting, an educator is able to have mature, well thought out conversations with students that will shape how they see the world. These activities are designed for college students to complete in a variety of settings.

Embracing Diversity

Unlike other educational settings, college students are more mature, ready to take risks and fully vested in their own education. This makes the perfect setting to have real conversations about what diversity is and how it influences the world and workplace. By harnessing the conversations on diversity in your classroom, your students will leave feeling confident about have working relationships with all types of people they might encounter in life.

The activities in this resource are designed for college students. There are opportunities for both individual and group work that can take place in or outside of the classroom. They work best once a classroom community is established where students feel comfortable sharing about their lives and being vulnerable.

Connecting with Multicultural Services

For this activity, you will partner with the multicultural student services at your school. At larger colleges and universities, this is an administrative office that oversees different multicultural organizations. At smaller schools, this might be organizations that bring together students of different religions, races or languages.

When talking with the organization, find a calendar of different events put on by the group. Share this calendar with students and have each student pick one event to attend over the course of a month. Students should attend an organizational event that encompasses a different culture or religion from their own. You can view this as a homework assignment.

Immediately after attending, students should jot down answers to these questions:

  1. Name and date of event attended
  2. Why did you choose this organization or event?
  3. What did it feel like to be in a room where you were a minority?
  4. What was your biggest takeaway from attending this event? What did you learn about this cultural group?

At the end of the month, have a short discussion in which students share about the events they attended and what they learned.

  • Materials Needed: Calendar of multicultural events

Privilege Walk

In this activity, students will see how seemingly small things can add up to make a difference in the perceived privileges people have in life. This activity should be used after students are comfortable sharing about their personal lives and the experiences they have gone through.

Begin by lining up students in the center of a large space. All students should face forward, so that they have space behind and in front of themselves to walk. Instruct students that they will take a step forward or back (or remain in place) for each question depending on their answer. Then begin the activity by reading a statement and having students move appropriately. The questions below are a starting point. You may want to add several more by finding them online or thinking of ones fit for the diversity of your classroom.

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