On a campus as large as UT’s, there is great potential for diversity. Tens of thousands of people attend our school, each with their own unique story and background.
Although UT remains a predominantly white institution, it is still home to students, faculty and staff of all religions, ethnicities, nationalities, sexualities and gender identities. In order to fully support one another because of, not despite, our differences, it is essential that we as Volunteers learn to embrace the opportunities provided by intersectionality and diversity — the opportunity to support those who are similar to us and different, and the opportunity to learn a thing or two along the way.
Intersectionality stresses the importance of considering multiple demographic variables at once in order to gain a better understanding of how particular groups become the targets of discrimination. When we start viewing our world through the lens of intersectionality, we gain a better understanding of how those different from us experience struggles that we haven’t — and maybe even a better understanding of how we have been discriminated against or have contributed to discrimination.
This year has been a great learning experience for many Americans — and humanity in general — in many different areas of life, but behind all of the year’s major events is one truth: differences among us are beneficial, not harmful. Diversity is a positive attribute, not something that should divide us.
As students, we are at a unique position in our lives, where we have access to an education that is valuable not only through what is taught in the classroom, but also the experiences that accompany the degree — experiences that can include friendships with people who may be exactly like you and others who couldn’t be more different. Experiences with friends you’ve known from high school and others who moved to Knoxville from halfway across the world.
In this issue, we highlight just a few of our campus’s minority student organizations and people, among a few other subjects. We do not claim to represent or attempt to represent groups which we are not a part of, but instead hope to draw attention to the importance of diversity on our campus.
Vol means all.