Athletics Encourage Diversity

Student Athletes by Angela Groom
Student Athletes by Angela Groom

by Angela Groom

In three short years, Providence has experienced an exponential jump in racial and ethnic diversity that is due in part to the addition of athletic programs.

Providence’s website includes a fall enrollment statistics page, going back as far as 2012. This page informs prospective students, parents, or current students of the campus-wide statistics. These statistics resources are overseen by John Milton, who is the head of Providence’s Institutional Research Department. The stats that are included are in regard to student ethnicity, denomination, part-time/full-time students, age of students, graduation rate, and so on.

In 2012 ( ), Providence had 63 total students in attendance. Of the 63 students, 47 (75%) were Caucasian/White, 1 (2%) were Hispanic/Latino, and 0 (0%) were Black or African American.

Other ethnic statistics listed for 2012 are as follows:  5 (8%) were Non-resident alien, 0 (0%) were American Indian/Alaska Native, 1 (2%) were Asian, 1 (0%) Native Hawaiian/Other Pacific Islander,, 4 (6%) were Two or more races, Race and 4 (6%) were listed as ethnicity unknown.

The fall of 2015 proved to be a school year of significant increase in student attendance. Statistics for the year come from the Student Fact Book , which was released only a week ago, and are as follows: White/Caucasian 60 (40.8%),  Hispanic/Latino 39 (26.5%), and African American, 7 (4.7%).

Other statistics that did not show considerable change from 2012 are as follows: Asian 1 (0.7%), Multirace 2 (1.3%), Native American/Alaskan 1 (0.7%), Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander 2 (1.3%), Non-Resident Alien 7 (4.7%), and unknown 28 (19%).

The college was established in 2005 by a board of like-minded individuals with a vision for education that is based in the Reformed tradition. The Reformed church (United Reformed Church and Christian Reformed Church) is historically connected to Dutch-American communities, making the early classes generally ethnically and racially homogenous.

Due to the Dutch Reformed heritage of the college, we see a change in ethnic and racial diversity which is astounding in just three years. The college, in 2012, was 75% caucasian and is now 40.8% Caucasian. Although the number of Caucasian students has increased since 2012, the percentage of Caucasian students has decreased due to the expansion in the number of Hispanic/Latino and Black/African American students. This vast increase, one could speculate, would be the cause for cultural differences and sometimes even shock on campus.