I am so thankful for this class. It has opened my eyes to some many groups of people that I had no idea struggled as much as our community (Indigenous Americans). After discussions and presentations in our class, I feel like the higher education system in the US is failing any group of people that are not white. There are so many things, even small things, that college campuses could do to make these minority groups feel more accepted and included.
I think one of the most important one would be to offer culturally appropriate dietary options for both international and indigenous students. I know that americanized cafeteria options are cheap and easy. But with students paying so much money just to attend classes, the university could spend a little extra money to make the students feel more at home. All in all, students are the customers of universities. And shouldn’t they be more focused on making their customers happy? Or are they more focused on how the football team looks on Saturdays?
I would also like to point out how wonderfully Dr. Grimes has facilitated this class. There were multiple difficult topics that were discussed and explored in class and outside of class, yet it felt as if all the students in the class felt comfortable to open up and discuss their views. I point that out because our class was comprised of students from multiple backgrounds and identities. From my point of view, even when we discussed racism every student seemed comfortable no matter their color. I attribute this to the teaching style and community building skills that Dr. Grimes practiced in our class.
Again, this class has opened my eyes to the needs of students on campus that are not being met. I am actually planning on taking these needs to my Native@VT community. I am hoping that as a community we can take the lead in helping these students and showing the university how it should be done. There is no time for deliberation or discussion, only action. If our community with the minimal fiscal resources that we have can make a difference, no matter how small, the university should be able to make an even bigger difference. But with all the bureaucracy, I have low hopes for anything to happen. We’ll see…