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Reflection: Here you will find a reflectionwritten by Myles Reed on SJSU Diversity
I began writing this Podcast Hypertext as a simple comparison between San Jose State and Santa Clara University. However after my visit to SJSU’s campus, I discovered something far more interesting about San Jose State that makes it incomparable to Santa Clara University. These differences did not attribute something better about SJSU just a slightly different focus. These unique aspects can be found within the general culture and history associated with SJSU, the students who attend SJSU, and within the various programs and events held on campus. Upon my arrival at SJSU I was greeted by an enormous glass building standing around 10 floors high with the initials “M.L.K” inscribed upon its glistening face. Already I was shocked and amazed by the magnitude of which its presence could be felt standing with the highest corporate buildings in the city. After conducting a little bit of research I found that the MLK Library was actually the second built here in the United States. The original Martin Luther King Library was founded in the District of Columbia in 1972 in order to commemorate the loss of the great political and spiritual activist Martin Luther King Jr. This more modern adaptation of the building was built it in 2003 as a joint effort between the City of San Jose and SJSU to provide all youth with access to literature. (http://www.sjlibrary.org/hours-location). Im not quite sure why I initially thought the library was so unique, but I think it had something to do with the fact that generally there tend not to be as many buildings named after minorities. However, with this rather large addition to the list of minority buildings some may even begin to feel the disparity that once existed no longer does. The King Library Houses on 1.5 million volumes of books, seats more than 3.5 thousand people, and is home to nearly 2 million visitors each year. These stats along with the fact that it encompasses nearly half the skyline of San Jose with its 475,000 square foot area. The library is also home to 35 pieces of Art created by Mel Chin, a rather famous local artist. Chin believed that her artwork scattered all throughout the library should be a reflection of the diverse community that uses the MLK Library. In my podcast I ran into one of the works created by chin that appeared at the top of an escalator going from the first to the second floor. It appeared to be some type of hole in the wall with plastic encasing it and ancient alien or Egyptian writing on it. This is a very interesting idea because not many people could not really imagine anything more diverse than aliens.
Moving on with my tour of the School, one of the first major things I noticed was the amount of students who had brought pets and rode bikes. This showed me a different type of diversity, one that we generally tend not to think about. This type of diversity is the diversity associated with life style. Upon first entering the school’s campus, it is not uncommon to see people from Santa Clara look shocked about students walking their dogs in groups or going outside and riding their bikes. Another noticeable difference between SJSU and Santa Clara is the amount of skateboarders that there were. While at Santa Clara there tend to be a rather large amount of Long boarders, skateboarding seems to have taken hold of the student population that the former. Another observation that I made by exploring the quad outside of the MLK library was a group of students engaged in a type of group dance. They did not appear to be associated with a club or school function that was supported and maintained by the advisory board of SJSU or anything like that, but they were just dancing for the fun of it. I could not help but to smile a little bit and gaze in awe of the fluid motion with which they moved. Another interesting observation about the group of dancers was that they all seemed to be of Filipino or Asian decent, I though that this was quite interesting because around Santa Clara this is a somewhat rare sight. According to SJSU’s website, San Jose State is the seventh most diverse school in the United States, that is up from 12th in year prior to this one.( http://www.sjsu.edu/diversityplan/strategy/). According to SJSU’s website, in order to begin its focus on diversity, the former president of the University, Don Kassing, organized a faculty lead reading group to help spark some idea about how SJSU could focus more of representation and inclusion.
Moving on with my tour, I ventured more towards the student Union area in hopes of finding some students to talk to about what they felt diversity meant to their University. However, to my dismay I saw a lot of students but no one who appeared to have the time to sit and have a conversation with me. Although some people might attribute this to a lack of inclusion or diversity in students selection of conversation partners, I paid it no attention. Being a college student myself, I remembered that students are often busy doing their own activities, heading to class or are up to no good ( hopefully not too much). I walked around the student Unions area of campus and noticed a statue of two African American students, Tommy smith and John Carlos. It was a statue in the center of the quad outside of Clark Hall that stood to commemorate the heroic and brave actions of holding up the Black Power fist at the 1962 Olympic Games in Mexico City. This statue represents a lot for SJSU’s community. I found that there were a lot of students besides myself reading the inscription of the statue and nodding their heads in respect to its kind words. I remember it reading, they stood for “equality, freedom, and honor”.