Racial, religious, LGBT, Socio-economic... I could write about this forever. This campus is "whitewashed" and the black people on campus bond and stick together. Even the ones that came from predominately white schools who don't care are forced to be friends with all the other black people because then they would be disowned as a black person. There was a racial problem last semester where a bunch of people thought a friend of mine had depicted a black woman being lynched which was SO WRONG. It's very tense on campus. in terms of LGBT. Nobody cares about that. There are LGBT's and nothing really happens to them and they don't get crap. In terms of socio-economic, well, we have divisions. It's called greek life and those without enough money to afford greek life. But then again it's also those that want to fit in and make tons of money and those that don't care as much and are on scholarship here. If you were not a lover of polo, pearls, aka the preppy look. If you want to make a difference in your life. If you aren't really attractive and skinny. If you aren't from a private school or NJ or outside NYC ... you will feel left out. To class students are dressed up. As a friend of mine and I commented... we have learned how to casually wear a dress. We look good for each class. No PJ's and you must shower everyday. Different types of students interact to get a grade for a class... outside that they may interact while they're drunk. Four tables: First table: This table would be located on the right side of the dinning hall. Here it would contain classic richmonders. Greek life loving, private schoolers. Second table: This table would be in the middle of the dining hall. It would contain the atheletic kids who are on one of the many collegiate teams we have. Third Table: This table would also be located in the middle but nearer to one corner. This table would have all Black students with a few football players because the area where the football players eat and the black kids eat is the same. Fourth table: this table would be on the left side of Dhall and would contain either internationals, normal people (intellectuals), or IV (the largest christian group on campus) kids, or a combination. The left is also where the professors eat. Most Richmond students are from NEW JERSEY!!!!!!!!! Therefore I hate it here because I'm from NY and people from NY hate people from NJ. Financial Backgrounds: Well, wealthy... Politically active? let's just say I met someone at a pro-choice lobby day who was amazed that we were there because she had gone to Richmond only 5 years prior and it was not politically active at all. I would say it is predominantly apathetic. yes, students talk about the money they are looking to make.
During orientation week there was a lot of talk about diversity, yet we have a serious lack of it. Most students are white and from affluent families in the north. We do have an international population and some minorities, but not so much and I am one of very few students from the west coast. That said, it seems students are becoming more aware of this fact and are doing something about it. Women in Living and Learning (WILL) is a huge group on campus that works for women's rights, there are several religious groups, and those who are treated differently for whatever reason are speaking up. So far the administration has been good about listening to my concerns as an overlooked commuting undergrad. It is going to take a lot of talking/shouting and time to get things changed but they will change if those who feel overlooked/stereotyped/mistreated stand up and do something about it. Those in charge seem to care, they just need to be told what's wrong and how they can fix it. There is quite a political scene on campus as well. Even more so with the 2008 Presidential Election being this year. Most students I have talked to are moderate but there are a large number of people on either end of the spectrum. We do have active political groups like College Republicans and Young Democrats who have recently been debating issues in The Collegian.
The following information is a generatlization for the majority of the student body, it does not describe EVERYONE by any means. However, it is an accurate representation of the majority of "typical" Richmond students. I'll be honest here. Richmond is not diverse at all. The dominent steryptypes - white, preppy, rich - consume the student body. If you don't fit in this group, you will likely feel like an outcast, to varying degrees. You'll be "weird." Most students wear sundresses, PEARLS, polo brand polo shirts, J. Crew, vineyard vines, etc clothing to class every day. They dress as if they're going on a job interview, or to a preppy new england yacht club or something. Most people are from the North. They're rich and they know it. A lot of them want you to know it, too. Most girls are thin, blonde, and beautiful (no joke). They all look the same, and dress the same. The boys are not ashamed to wear pastels, tightish pants, or the likes. "Preppy" is an understatement. Most people are not aware of money/the real world. They use their parent's credit card for everything. It is NOT by any means a lifestyle or population representative of the real world.
The students at richmond are generally very involved individuals. Generally, students are involved in at least 3 clubs or organizations on campus. As a result, students tend to be very busy! Some of the organizations present on campus are greek life, campus activities board, richmond rowdies, acapella groups, interfaith groups and etc. Greek life is present on campus; approximately 50% of females participate and 30% of males. However, there is no greek housing. Thus, regardless of whether or not you are greek, campus is very cohesive for both independents and greeks. The dress code on campus is generally described as pretty preppy or as something right out of a JCrew catalog. It is common to see students in north faces and patagonias while rocking rainbow sandals. However, this style is not true for everyone and that is what makes our campus so great. There are three rooms in the dining hall. Generally, those affiliated with greek life sit in the first room, athletes sit in the second room (because DUH it's closest to the food) and anyone sits in the third room.
The student body at the University of Richmond is comprised of white, affluent youth. They tend to be rather arrogant and ignorant. Their lack of awareness of issues outside their limited scope of life is truly staggering. These are also kids who love to drink to excess, foregoing any sort of school spirit or off-campus social or cultural activity in favor of attending essentially the exact same party they attended last week. Also, due to the tuition hike of a few years past, the office of admissions has been forced to delve deeper and deeper into their waiting list, resulting in (generally) retrograding of academic standards and general intellectual level. This is not a callous judgement on the part of this one writer but a statistic. For instance, in the two years following this hike test scores of incoming students dropped substantially from that of previous years and was even well below that of the graduating class. The mark of a growing university is that the incoming class' test scores are better than those of the graduating seniors.
I have experienced numerous amoung of racial issues from being called a nigger to the hanging of a black doll. I am the type of person who will not crack under these circumstance, quite frankly it makes me stronger. A minority student would feel out of place at Richmond. Most students wear prep type clothing, meaning polos, colorful sundresses, and northface. Different types of students interact, but it is not an everyday thing unless it is the same people. You will not see campus-wide interactions between different types of students. One table you have the athletes which generally is integrated, one is the frats which are all white, one the sororites which are mostly all white, and the last one can be either an all black or an all white table, take your pick. You rarely see a mixed table other than the football and basketball tables. The majority are rich financial backgrounds. I am really not sure how politically active they are.
Most Richmond students tend to be from the northeast, but the dynamics are slightly changing. Being from the south, I felt somewhat out-numbered, but it's a great experience to get to know people who are different from you. Richmond also has a large percentage of international students. In 2007, Richmond was voted "hottest school for international studies," since Richmond sends so many students abroad and allows so many to study here. Unfortunately, the student body is predominately white. I know that the school is working on increasing the diversity on campus, and that any form of racism is not tolerated. Because of the large tuition payment, it seems like everyone at Richmond has to be rich. While some are, without question, many students are only attending because they are receiving so much money in financial aid. I don't feel like students talk about which category they fall into, and it's never an issue.
There is a lot of wealth on campus, but also a LOT of people who are here because of significant financial aid, which really helps with the diversity on campus. There are a lot of different religious groups on campus, some more prominent than others. The LGBT community is there but underrepresented. The socio-economic bar is set pretty high, but its true that not everyone is rich and had Daddy paying for school. I never hear people bragging or even talking about money, though. Even though that is probably the majority. The culture here is to wear really nice clothes to class and the library, which is annoying when you want to wear sweatpants. So many people are from the North East. Its a running joke that if you guess someone's hometown as Jersey, you'll probably be right. But that makes it an interesting dynamic for those who see Richmond as a southern school, and for the southerners who see it as northern.
The students at Richmond can be summed up as people who work hard but play hard. There are a lot of different groups represented on campus (racial, religious, LGBT (we were ranked as one of the top accepting schools of LGBT groups), and socio-economic) and there are many clubs on campus where these groups can get together to share their experiences and form a connection over these experiences. Students mostly dress nicely to class but you will see people walking around in work out clothes or sweats/yoga pants occasionally. Most students are from Virginia and the North East but there are also greater populations of students coming from around the country and with 6% of students being international students. Richmond has a great financial aid program as well as scholarships so students come from all different kinds of financial backgrounds. Students here are very ambitious, very involved, and very hard working.
Students at the University of Richmond are stereotyped as rich, white, preppy kids from the NorthEast. On the surface this could seem accurate but Richmond and it's students pride ourselves on being diverse. You will meet a lot of people from New Jersey and Long Island but also from Washington State (like me) and Alaska. One of my closest friends is from Guatemala who went to high school in Norway. Another is from Jersey but he bikes everywhere, eats vegetarian and has traveled the world studying social justice. Sure a lot of students wear Vineyard Vines and Sperrys but others enjoy comfy old sweaters and jeans with patches. At the University of Richmond you will never feel alone or one of hundreds, tossed into a stereotype but a part of a diverse community, adding your own splash of color.