April 2018 – Drew University students are teaching their counterparts at Madison High School about the value of diversity.
Thanks to a grant from the Interfaith Youth Core, the Drew students, under the direction of the university’s Center on Religion, Culture & Conflict, conducted surveys on diversity with their younger peers at the high school and led workshops on pluralism—the understanding, appreciation and peaceful coexistence of different races, ethnicities and religions.
The workshops, which took place at the high school on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, were designed to spark conversations about diversity, tolerance and activism. Back on campus, the CRCC also hosted a two-day Interfaith Leadership Lab for high school students, college students and college professors and staffers from throughout the region.
One of the Drew students in the education initiative, Nilab Nusrat C’18, believes that high school students are ideal to work with, as they are at a prime age for learning and developing new mindsets, particularly about how people are similar and different.
“People fear the unknown,” said Nusrat, an economics major. “Once we understand our common ground, there is much less chance for stereotypes, hatred and crime.”
Another workshop leader, biology major Leah Nadel C’18, asserted that training high school students to have a “more pluralistic mindset … can have a ripple effect.”
Nusrat and Nadel viewed their work with Madison High School as an opportunity to put their education into practice and spread the values they have learned at Drew. While they’ll soon graduate, they’re nonetheless excited to pass on the legacy to other undergraduates involved in the CRCC’s diversity education initiatives. They also look forward to putting their learning and experience to work.