First Person Archive

Ashley Hansack ’15
Los Angeles, CA

Ashley Hansack

Cultivating diversity begins with understanding and valuing differences. Whether the issues revolve around race, class, sexuality or other variables, differences help foster a greater sense of community, where people are comfortable in expressing their own views and opinions. Having the opportunity to pinpoint differences and use those differences to bring people together rather than draw them apart will lead us to a fruitful future filled with positive energy to produce change.


Gabie Brosas ’ 15


To me, diversity means bringing a lot to the table, and then taking the next step to open up the table. Diversity means that there is a space to disagree and to challenge and engage with one another, within the context of helping one another grow. I do not think that diversity is labeling or categorizing people. I reject conventional labels by living as a biracial, lower-middle class college student and consider myself to be a liberal Catholic. Valuing my diversity means not letting labels define me, but instead challenging them. By allowing for varied perspectives, I believe that we can use diversity to help understand each other and bring more love and unity.


Thabo Liphoto ’14
Maseru, Lesotho


Diversity to me comes in different forms: race, socioeconomic backgrounds, language, cultural differences, religious views, personal values and practices, sexual orientation, and more. Having had the privilege to go to one of the most diverse high schools on the planet, I was exposed to many forms of diversity. My experience prepared me well for future interactions with different people. I have since learned to accept people for who they are, not who I wish them to be. I have come to embrace and celebrate the differences I have with people. I have also come to realize how important it is that I strive to share this experience for other people to understand and appreciate diversity.


Sean Mulloy ’14
Chandler, Ariz.


Diversity is the variety of opinions, identities, experiences, ideologies, and backgrounds that make each of us unique. An appreciation of diversity hinges upon cultivating a community that resists homogeneity and instead fosters an understanding, respect and celebration of difference. It is only realized through the acknowledgment of how power and privilege operate in the world. It cannot be captured by checking a box on a form, but it can be nurtured through challenging ourselves and each other to think differently about the world, by challenging our assumptions, and joining the struggle for social justice and equality.


Evan Griffis ’15
Vancouver, Wash. 

Evan Griffis

The world around us is soaked in diversity. No two cultures are alike, and as hard as we may try to standardize what it means to be a student, a citizen, or a person of the world, our diverse makeups ensure that our perceptions are unique and that our perspectives are malleable with our changing experiences. Diversity is the only universal, and for that reason diversity is something to celebrate with, understand from, and preserve within others. For me, diversity is the lens from which I observe, and without the help of those around me I would be blind to the beauty of the world.


Matt Ozuna ’12
Intercultural Center Program Adviser

matt ozuna

Though my Whitman career began in August 2005, an awareness and appreciation for diversity developed much earlier. As a child, I learned to recognize the intersections of race, culture and class within my own family. I remember studying these intersections, coping with them, even celebrating them with distinct foods, languages and atmospheres. As a teenager, I began to critically analyze and question my mixed-race, multicultural identity. When I arrived at Whitman, I understood the importance and sensitivity surrounding issues of diversity. My values, insights and experiences helped prepare me for the wide array of people, places and ideas that would enhance my liberal arts education.