Do students at Sacred Heart University feel like there is a sense of unity and inclusion within the campus?
“I believe so, everyone in the classroom is treated the exact same no matter who you are,” said junior Nina Manganello.
On March 14, Dr. John Petillo, president of Sacred Heart, sent an email to SHU students addressing the message of “Stronger Together.” This message, “Stronger Together,” was founded to bring awareness to social justice.
In this email, Petillo said that a survey will be sent out that can help comfort students. He stated, “In support of SHU’s core values, the university is developing new strategies and actions to benefit students, faculty, staff and alumni. We are asking for 10 minutes of your time to provide feedback on the culture at SHU, with a focus on diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging.”
The goal of the “Stronger Together” message is to encourage new ways for students to feel united as one at Sacred Heart.
“I thought the email President Petillo sent out is going to be very beneficial to the community,” said junior Gianna Romagnoli. “It is uplifting to see that the university is seeking input from across the entire community and will use this input to shape SHU into a place where everyone is welcome and can thrive.”
According to Collegefactual.com, “‘Sacred Heart is ranked 2,504 out of 37,790 when it comes to the racial/ethnic diversity of the students.’ Their diversity is higher than the national average, but some aspects of diversity are different than others.”
Some students addressed their feelings on diversity within the campus.
“I do not see SHU as a very diverse campus so I would like to see it become more diverse in the future,” said sophomore Kelly Raftery.
Some students said they do not notice the demographics of the campus.
“I don’t notice that our campus is predominantly white, but the statistics online say that we are,” said Manganello.
According to Sacred Heart’s website, “At SHU, we address systemic inequities through self-interrogation, by championing unity and respecting the inherent worth and dignity of each other.”
There are several diversity and inclusion clubs on campus to get involved in. One major organization is the Multicultural Center, which opened in Sept. 2020 with the goal to connect and unite students within Sacred Heart’s community.
“Everyone who comes to the Multicultural Center and participates in our events knows that they have a family here,” said graduate assistant Leela Gallucci. “We are here for each other.”
Although some students have never visited the Multicultural Center, they believe its presence on campus is benefiting the community.
“I have heard of the Multicultural Center, but I do not know much about it. I think it is very important to have this on campus to make people feel included, heard and comfortable,” said sophomore Kelly Raftery.
According to U.S. News, “Colleges emphasize a diverse class because different perspectives allow students to learn from one another,” says Monica Inzer, vice president for enrollment management at Hamilton College in New York.
Likewise, some students believe that diversity on campus has allowed the campus to flourish.
“With the implementation of numerous efforts to promote diversity on campus over the years, I believe our university and the individuals within it have been able to grow by being exposed and uniting with many different people with different perspectives,” said junior Haley Sullivan.
Some students believe more can be done to enhance unity on campus, in addition to the spread of the “Stronger Together” message.
“There is always room for SHU to do more to foster unity regarding diversity and inclusion. We also need to be willing to have open and honest conversations as a whole within the SHU community,” said Gallucci.