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Ball State University

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Describe the students at your school.

A good descriptor for the average Ball State student would be white and middle class, which should be shocking to no one; this is east central Indiana we're talking about here. But the what the designation of "middle class" actually means varies widely. Many of the girls I knew from my former sorority came from upper-middle class families that live in wealthy suburbs around Indianapolis, attended private high schools, etc., while other people I know would probably be considered the lowest of lower-middle class. In fact, even trying to give a good summary of “what students are like at Ball State” seems mistaken because there aren’t much in the way of accurate generalizations. Let’s take religion for example: it’s probably safe to say that Christians make up the largest religious demographic at Ball State, specifically mainline Protestants and evangelicals. But if you compared the campus church I attended to the largest Christian group on campus – groups which, by the way, claim nearly-identical doctrines – the personality difference between the two is striking. My former church is hipster-y, accepts and encourages off-the-wall humor, fairly liberal and laid-back, and engages better than I’ve seen a lot of churches do with minorities and subcultures. The larger group has a much more “mainstream” feel, membership is a bit more conservative, and shows more earnest sincerity but less deep intellectual engagement with theological thought, from what I have seen and heard. So even to talk about “Christians on Ball State’s campus,” for example, is problematic. But problematic in a good way, I think; it shows that not everybody that can be put in this or that group thinks and behaves the same. Social stratification doesn’t seem like it holds much sway on Ball State’s campus; my various social circles overlap at many points, and this seems like the case for pretty much everyone I’ve ever met in college. Sorority girls hang out with hippies (who are sometimes are also hippies) who hang out with telecommunications majors who hang out with English majors who hang out with philosophy majors (all of which are also sometimes hippies/sorority girls/other things) – people hang out with who they like. Some groups are more likely to mingle than others, but strict dividing lines are few. I’d say the strongest of those probably exist amongst the fraternities. Some of them really don’t like each other. Politically, I’d say Ball State is overall pretty moderate. It seems like there are enough people on either end of the right-left spectrum that things balance out. Actual political activity seems fairly low, and I think most kids have some basic understanding of current events but few that are very deeply engaged. But overall, I think we’re a pretty chill campus. Most people wear jeans or sweats and T-shirts to class. (I dress up pretty much every day of my life, but I’m definitely an exception.) People are generally friendly, and I’ve always felt very safe at BSU. Really, I think the only kind of person who wouldn’t pretty easily find friends would be someone of exceptional wealth/status/privilege, simply because there aren’t many students that fit that description. Most BSU students come from typical Midwestern working families, and we’re totally okay with that.

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Students at Ball State are generally very accepting. We're a medium-sized, midwest school, so there is of course a large white majority, and many more on campus Christian groups than representatives of other religions. A lot of students come from somewhere in Indiana, Ohio, Illinois, or Michigan, and generally have access to a moderate income. Still, there's a lot of diversity on campus, too. Ball State has especially active Latino Student Union, LGBTQ (Spectrum), and Campus Crusade for Christ groups, but offer plenty of other multicultural organizations, religious organizations, and special interest groups. Political activism on campus are a fairly low-key subject, though we're always given ample opportunities to register to vote at the appropriate times. Thanks to our many service organizations, social activism is a lot more common. It's not surprising to see someone passing out flyers and collecting donations at the scramble light for Invisible Children, or for a flash mob organized by our OxFam organization to appear on the university green in the shape of a peace sign to advocate awareness of the two and a half billion people living in poverty. On the whole, I think Ball State is a very inclusive place--it's not like high school, where students are all packaged off into different groups that never interact. Thanks to Ball State, I'm lucky enough to have friends who grew up in different cultures and circumstances, who see the world differently than I do and help me to expand my perception, too.

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The most obvious aspect of the students here are that they are involved. The university literally has hundreds of clubs to join. I have noticed many of the clubs take particular effort to promote diversity. The GLBTQSA club on campus has a large and active membership that often partners with other clubs in order to promote diversity. Racially, there are so many clubs for different ethnicities that the university even has clubs for African American Graduate Students or Dancers, not just African Americans. The university also supports religious diversity from many Christian clubs to even a couple clubs for Atheists. While college campuses generally are a haven for Democrats, this campus is rather right-wing. The College Republicans are far more involved than the Democrat counterpart and the university tends to invite more people from the right side of the political spectrum than the left. While Ball State is growing, the campus is not the most prominent in the state; as a result, students can from an exceptionally wide variety of socioeconomic statuses. Some students come to class in designer clothes and take notes on their iPad 2 while others work full-time after classes just to make enough to stay enrolled. Because of this variety, the students come from many different locations. Some come from Chicagoland, like myself, while some walk to campus from the house they grew up in. However, I would say that the vast majority of students come from in-state.

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Students at Ball State are average for a public school. There are people of every personality, creed, religion, ethnicity, race, etc. There are students from all socioeconomic statuses as well. The campus has an excellent LGBTQSA (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning, and straight allies) group on campus called Spectrum. There are several religious organizations as well. There are clubs and groups on campus for everyone, and if you don't find a club you like, you can start your own. I cannot think of any type of student that would feel out of place at this school. Anyone can find a niche here. Most students wear comfortable, casual or business casual clothing. Very few dress up for class. Most of the students are from Indiana, but many states and countries are represented too. We have many international students from China, South Korea, and Saudi Arabia. Students constantly have the opportunity to interact with students who differ from them, whether it is in class, in the dining halls, or through clubs and organizations.

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The students at Ball State are almost all variates of things except judging. Who you are, what you like, your appearance, beliefs, passions will all be accepted on the whole here. I feel students as well as student organizations are great at portraying this too. Every community has it's share of jerks or pricks, but luckily here you have the option to spend time with people who are not these things. Most students are pretty socially laid back and have more important things on their minds, like staying warm in the winter or having enough money for rent this month. The Muncie and BSU community seems to be the ideal midwest middle class area, and by this, I mean it seems to be real. Here students are concerned with issues that everyday people face, as well as passing finals and making it into a frat party. What I'm trying to say is, Ball State is full of real people coming from real places. The college and the students are here knowing how current life is and how to develop and succeed in that society.

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I have noticed quite a few different races and religious preferences at Ball State. I find it really interesting, because I have been able to make multiple friends that are different from me. I have learned a lot about other people, and they have learned a lot about me as well. LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender) students fit in just like anybody else would at school. They have clubs and meetings for the LGBT as well, and it's not embarassing to attend and just make new friends. I lived in Lafollete this past year, and I had a lot of Korean and Chinese International students living in the dorms. It was really interesting to see so many different people, but it was a great experience as well. People from all around the world come to Ball State. It is a great place to meet new people. Especially, the International students are always thrilled for an American student or just anyone in general to come up and meet with them and find out what they are about.

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Ball State is fairly diverse, but as far as I know, it hasn't been an issue. Groups do develop, but they are mostly made up of people in the same class, club, or dorm. Religiously, the school has many christian groups, as to be expected in Indiana. There are many churches on campus and they do recruit heavily in the first week or so. After that, it calms down. This does not show up in the classroom and does not cause controversy. Most of the students here are laid-back and socio-economic status hardly mean a thing to most people. Money is not all that important and most people do not flaunt it if they have it. Their attire is casual as well and most people wear jeans, if not sweatpants, and t-shirts. They are very friendly and very willing to strike up conversations on a whim.

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There are so many different types of people at Ball State and you are bound to find a "home away from home." If you're looking to get involved, which is highly recommended, there are numerous organizations to look into and be a part of. In my opinion, I don't think anyone would feel out of place at Ball State. The only type of person that might feel uneasy about being at Ball State, if they are far from home, is a home-body. Most students wear comfortable clothes to class and a lot of the time, sweats. A lot of students at this university intermix and there is a sense of connection throughout the whole campus.

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They are hard working and focused. They are very caring and helpful. We work well together to help one another solve problems. We share resources we find to help better serve our students we teach in the classroom. This is a great place to make friends for life and professional contacts for down the road.

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Diverse in many ways, but many students are very disinterested and don't put forth much effort towards their schoolwork. The academic atmosphere is pretty poor outside of the Honors College. Some students will be friendly, but many will be from the frats or sororities and will be stuck-up.

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