Groups on campus -- I'm on the executive board of the UMBC Freedom Alliance, UMBC's LGBT rights group, and I know for a fact that we're pretty darn awesome. Almost all the other groups I've talked to are pretty welcoming. The martial arts clubs foster a great learning environment, the religious groups are mostly friendly. Each major also has a council of students who organize related events and provide support, connections and resources for students. If someone feels out of place at UMBC, they probably feel out of place everywhere else, too -- there's a niche for everyone. Clothes -- It may seem that anything goes, and technically it does, but a lot of professors poke fun at students who wear, for example, pajamas to class. Dining hall -- there's always someone sitting by themself in a corner. There's a loud table of sports buddies, whose scholarships place them a stone's throw away from the dining hall, in Potomac. Late at night on Thursdays there's usually a gay table. Early in the morning, a few early birds have coffee and breakfast together. Most UMBC students are from Maryland; a reasonably arge number are from other states and some few are international students. Financial background -- middle class. Some are paying for their own education. Students are not nearly as politically active as they should be; the upcoming election has galvanized a lot of people the know more about what's going on. College students today live in a sort of bubble, that's just starting to pop. I don't know a lot of conservatives, but then again I usually sit at the gay table... Earn -- no one really knows. Maybe a grad student could answer that better. I know I'll be making $6-12 an hour, because that's what freelance theatre work pays.
There is one rule about UMBC: if you don't like diversity, UMBC is not for you. There are people at UMBC from so many different backgrounds. In my first semester at UMBC, I met Christians, Muslims, Jews, Buddhists, Wiccans, Agnostics, Atheists, Whites, African Americans, Asians, Native Americans, Indians, Arabs, Russians, Europeans, Poor people, Rich people, Middle class people, Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals, and Straight people, among many others. UMBC has a place for everyone, except people who want the closed-mindedness of an entire campus of people who think exactly like they do. On the other hand, I find it much more interesting to discuss life experiences with someone who has led a completely different life than I have. Imagine this: You are sitting at a dining hall table at some random college. You are an 18-year old white, straight, Christian male who grew up in an upper-middle class family in some random suburb. The three people sitting around you are all around the same age, all white, all straight, all Christian, and they all grew up in similar circumstances. Now imagine this: You are sitting at a dining hall table at UMBC. You are a 19-year old, white, bisexual, Agnostic female who grew up in a middle class family in Baltimore County. Sitting across from you is a 20-year old, African American, straight, Christian male who grew up in a poor family in downtown Baltimore City. To the left of you is a 40-year old, Indian, straight, Muslim female who grew up in a relatively well-off family in India. Across from her is a 26-year old, English, gay, Wiccan male who grew up in a rich Indiana suburb. Which group would be more interesting to talk to? If you picked the second, UMBC is for you.
We have so many different groups on campus, I have really been opened to different perspectives as a result of being involved in the campus community. I think just about any student can find what they are looking for at UMBC. But somebody who thinks college is a joke and isn't interested in devoting time to it isn't going to stay here very long. Most students wear whatever they had on the bed when they got up in the morning to class. Different types of students interact all the time because there are so many of them - you can't avoid it! One has nerds talking about online exploits, anime, and webcomics. Another consists of "artsy" students talking about US politics. Some science majors tell bio jokes. A group of roommates laughing. Most UMBC students are from Maryland and are upper-middle class, which reflects the financial background of the state. We struggle with some of the same apathy issues as the rest of the country, but the students who are involved are very involved. It's a college campus, I'd say most people are left. Lots of students talk about where they plan on going/how much they will make after graduation.
UMBC is one of the most diverese campus's in the country. There are many different races, religions, economic backgrounds and sexual orientations at UMBC. I don't feel that there would be many people that would feel out of place on campus. The student body here is very accepting ad diverse. There is no pressure to dress or act a certain way while at school. As far as differnt students interacting, I would have to say there is a rather large gap between the athletes and the non athletes. There are some people who try to bridge that gap and it is starting to close. Most studens at UMBC are from Maryland. Students at UMBC are prdominately from the upper middle- to upper classes of society, politically they are center and active and aware in politics. Students do talk about how much they'll earn one day. UMBC is a very science oriented school and therefore the jobs that students will one dy have are likely to have the bigger salaries.
My experiences with all of the different races, religions, sexual orientations, SESs and other groups is that all are pretty much tolerated and allowed to be their own selves. There is so much diversity in all of those different aspects here on campus that there is a place for everybody and most groups seem to coexist and sometimes mingle with one another. As far as attire to class for students goes, some wear very casual clothes such as sweat pants, jeans, etc., but others wear more professional attire possibly because they come from work or what not. UMBC students are from all over the world. I would guess that the majority are from Maryland, but there is a large percentage of people from all over the US as well as the rest of the world.
I honestly feel that NO ONE would feel out of place at UMBC. It truly is a diverse campus in every sense of the word (i.e., racially, religiously, etc.) So, I think if you are looking for a school where everyone is welcome and accepted regardless of gender, sexual preference, religion, or race, UMBC is the right place. To describe those four tables-none of them would be the same- Financial background- id assume a middle bracket socioecon status students are very politically involved, mostly left leaning (aren't most campuses?) No- I've never engaged in a discussion about future earnings.
The only thing you can say about UMBC is that everyone is so diverse. Our main student building "the Commons" has I think over 100 flags from various countries representing all of the places the students are from. There is no way to list every different "variety" of student I can only say that if you think it, we have it. There are student groups representing almost any type of situation you can imagine: religious, political, ethnicity, sports, arts, sciences, and the list goes on. The only trouble you will have fitting in is deciding when to stop joining groups!
UMBC's student body is largely clique-oriented, with little sense of community. Most prefer to complain that there is nothing to do on campus instead of actually making anything happen. There are a lot of people who sit around hoping that something interesting will happen, and who will gladly take part and join in if something does; however, very few will actively seek out or help promote community involvement.
Student groups attempt to introduce culture to the overall culturally homogeneous student body. Almost all of the students were raised in your typical american suburb, and those that weren't stick out. The student body is, however, accepting, in terms of "alternative lifestyles." In terms of politics, the students may talk about politics, but are not actively engaged in protests, etc.
My experience has been that just about every group possible is represented at UMBC. A large computer science program means lots of nerdy kids. Division I athletics provide a fairly large representation of jocks. Lots of preppy kids join fraternities and sorrorities. However, most students at UMBC defy such petty pidgeonholing. You will be sure to meet lots of truly individual people.