Although the life of the college is closely linked to the energy and opportunities of New York City and to the resources of Columbia University, Barnard is truly a place apart: a tightly knit sisterhood of undergraduates who live and study in an atmosphere of open expression. From Barnard's president to its first-year students, the entire college community is encouraged to take an active role in shaping and supporting activities that reflect the remarkably diverse interests of students. We seek to foster a campus climate where individuals from diverse backgrounds interact on various levels, on multiple issues.
Barnard is a place that celebrates all kinds of voices and opinions. Our student body comes from nearly 50 states and 50 countries. More than 30 percent of our students self-identify as students of color: Asian, African-American, Latina, Native American, bi-racial, and multi-racial. And, more than 10% of our students have been educated abroad. Our students represent a Kaleidoscope of identities, with each member's race, ethnicity, religion, socioeconomic background, sexual orientation, citizenship, and culture representing an arbitrary and beautiful arrangement of colors and patterns. More than this, though, each voice represents our many perspectives. And, it is in sharing those perspectives Barnard students learn from one another, each expanding her appreciation of diverse cultures and people, shaping her own lens from which she views the world.
We believe that issues of diversity are shared and should be explored by every member of our community, not just those populations underrepresented. Our Office of Diversity Initiatives works to promote and support a campus community that embraces its pluralistic identity. The mission of this office, working with the entire campus community, is to enhance the experiences of Barnard students by encouraging and empowering them to explore complex issues of social diversity, educating and preparing students for success in an increasingly inter-connected global society.
Barnard also works closely with our Columbia colleagues, academic departments, and students from all backgrounds to offer a range of programs that include cultural heritage months, lectures, film screenings, art exhibits, and co-sponsorship of a variety of campus programs including concerts, conferences and workshops. Such activities include, but are not limited to, cross-cultural programming such as the Campus Vibes Dialogue Series, addressing issues of social diversity, large celebrations, such as the Latina Heritage Month, Barnard Forum on Migration, Lunar New Year Celebration, Queer Awareness Month, Black Heritage Month, Rennert Women in Judaism Forum, Asian Pacific American Awareness Month, Native American Heritage Month, and Celebration of Black Womanhood, as well as our cultural film series.
The Office of Diversity Initiatives serves as a resource for the campus community in providing advice and support to our culturally-themed organizations, leadership development opportunities, and advocacy and support for students surrounding issues of diversity. Also, be sure to check out our library of diversity resources and and opportunities for leardership. Learn more about our Office of Diversity Initiatives and the Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transsexual Queer LGBTQ Community.
Perhaps the best proof of the value of a Barnard education—and the Barnard experience—can be found in the remarkable careers that its graduates have built. Barnard’s alumnae excel in virtually every field. They start and lead corporations, make important scientific discoveries, write critically acclaimed novels, develop national policy, and more. Each year, hundreds of alumnae return to campus as guest speakers, provide internships in their workplaces, and act as informal job referral sources. For many, their work has had an impact more far-reaching than they might have believed possible when studying here. And, they are eager to share their experiences and empower other Barnard women.
Consider this (by no means exhaustive) list of accomplished alumnae of color:
“At Barnard, I felt free to celebrate who I am and not allow that to be a barrier to any decision, endeavor, project, or intellectual crusade. The diversity at Barnard, and in New York City, gave me constant exposure to new cultures and people, which allowed me to learn new things about myself, almost on a daily basis.”
- Bendita, Alumna