Teens work together for campus diversity

Situated in a secluded corner of Carmel High lies the Diversity Club, the meeting place of students who wish to cultivate a greater spirit of diversity within the school’s social and cultural ecosystem.

As of now, the club has been active for 15 years and mainly focuses on community-based work led by student leaders dedicated to being stalwart allies for all groups and connecting with similar programs at neighboring schools by joining hands to provide service to those in need.

Many students join in order to build open relationships with peers in a welcoming and accepting environment while breaking down social and personal barriers they may have previously harbored.

“This club is a good opportunity to share your thoughts with people who are open to listening to what you have to say,” sophomore Hailey Schwartz says. “We don’t judge each other here. There’s none of that.”

However, a majority of students join to minimize bullying and improve interactions among peers on campus.

“I know that a lot of people who are ‘different’ get bullied a lot, and I want to stop that because I’ve been bullied myself,” freshman Jeremiah Lamph adds.

Through the club, members gather in active pursuit of creating and building tolerance for those who have faced discrimination and harassment by educating and bringing such occurrences to light.

Club members are involved in proactive approaches to address and inform others over matters of racism and other forms of intolerance that they may have been desensitized to or have considered to be the norm. For instance, club members engage in a workshop course designed by the National Coalition Building Institute called “Welcoming Diversity,” which specifically demonstrates how members of certain identity groups have been conditioned into thinking or acting a certain way and provides skills for bridging differences.

When asked her general opinion of the freshman mentality towards the subject, club adviser Elena Loomis says, “Each student takes it differently.”

“You never know the full impact it might have on an individual student,” Loomis adds, “but I do feel that [the students] still get some good benefit from it by simply seeing how different people experience discrimination.”

The club strives to offer its services as a safe space for students, but to also be a resource for the school.

For students interested in joining, they can stop by Room 9 on Thursday at lunch for more information.

-Grace Liang