The Office of Institutional Diversity (OID) at the College of Charleston is taking a proactive step to foster a more inclusive environment for students of color. Collaborating with schools and other departments on campus, OID is creating activities that are open to everyone, but are designed to specifically support AALANA (African American, Latinx, Asian and Native American) students. 

“Our activities are inclusive opportunities that make an impact by celebrating our AALANA students and giving them a sense of belonging so they stay and graduate,” says Rénard Harris, the College’s chief diversity officer and vice president of access and inclusion.

The AALANA events will kick off with Palentine’s Art Night, hosted by the Honors College, from 5-6:30 p.m. this Thursday, Feb. 10, 2022. With a theme of “Celebrating Community, Building Belonging,” students from across campus are invited to leave their artistic mark on a collaborative mural located in the first-floor media gallery of Joe E. Berry Jr. Residence Hall (8-A St. Philip St.). Art supplies will be provided.

As a state-supported university, the College of Charleston strives to be representative of South Carolina’s racial demographics. In fact, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) are woven into all aspects of the College’s strategic plan.  

The College’s efforts, including this new series of AALANA-focused events, aim to foster a more representative campus community and help close the gap between the state’s demographics and those of the College. With its strong DEI cultural mindset, the College continues to work hard to ensure that underrepresented minority students feel welcomed and have a sense of belonging at CofC.  

Race and Ethnicity South Carolina 2020 Census Data College of Charleston Fall 2021 Census Data* 
White 61.6% 78.7% 
Black 12.4% 6.3% 
Hispanic 18.7% 7% 
Asian 6% 2% 
American Indian/ Alaskan Native 1.1% .2% 
Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander .2% 0% 
Two or more races 10.2% 3.6% 
Other or unknown race 8.4% 1.1% 

*The missing 1.1% in the CofC data represents the international student population, which is not included in the race and ethnicity data. 

“With our focus on DEI, I am optimistic that we will diversify our student population even more and create an inclusive environment that fosters growth and success for everyone,” says Harris. 

Additional events and activities supporting AALANA students during the spring 2022 semester include the following (Be sure to check out the campus calendar to learn more about these upcoming events.) :   

  • The School of Education, Health, and Human Performance will host a Summer Research Employment Student Information Session on Feb. 16 (6:30 p.m.) with AALANA student panelists who will discuss their experience in the Summer Research Employment program. Faculty mentors will provide tips for approaching faculty for mentored research. Applications for Summer Research Employment will launch Feb. 21 and close on March 21. 
  • The Athletics Department will host a Student-Athlete Advisory Committee Open House and Tailgate on Feb. 17 at the Men’s Basketball home game against James Madison University. 
  • The Graduate School will host Leadership in a Diverse World with AALANA graduates sharing the value of a graduate education and the challenges they had to overcome in their education. This important panel discussion will be held during Graduate Education Week, March 14 – 18. 
  • The Honors College will also host an Affinity Group Listening Session during an accepted student event on March 18. 
  • The School of Business and the School of Languages, Cultures, and World Affairs will host Diversity and Global Fluency as Workforce Needs on Saturday, March 19, from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. The workshop will include diversity training, a coaching session by representatives of a global company and student pairing for mentoring opportunities.   
  • The Office of University Communications will host a panel discussion with AALANA alumni to share their achievements and challenges with current students on Wednesday, March 23, from 4 to 6 p.m. in the Stern Center Ballroom. 
  • The School of the Arts will host Dreams of a New Day: Songs by Black Composers with internationally recognized operatic baritone Will Liverman and acclaimed pianist and CofC’s Director of Piano Studies Paul Sánchez on April 19 at Sottile Theatre. Join some of the artists for a pre-concert talk, including Charleston’s first Poet Laureate Marcus Amaker who wrote the text for part of the song, “Two Black Churches.” The pre-concert talk will begin at 7:30 p.m., with the concert at 8 p.m. FREE ADMISSION for CofC students, faculty and staff as well as youth (18 and under). All attendees must obtain tickets. 
  • The Division of Student Affairs will host an AALANA Interactive Wellness Event. 
  • The College Libraries will host Beyond the Filter: Telling Stories with Photographs of Family and Community. For this, participants will bring their favorite digital or print photos and share their stories 
  • The Division of Institutional Advancement will host mock interviews for students. 
  • The School of Humanities and Social Sciences will host a scavenger hunt of historical places on campus. 
  • Facilities Management will give students a tour and overview of the campus grounds 
  • The School of Sciences and Mathematics is collaborating with AALANA student leaders in the school to create an annual student-run spring science event.