The Michigan Institute for the Improvement of African American Representation, a committee within the University’s Black Student Union, has organized a program to host 46 high school students from Kalamazoo Public Schools for three days at the University. Led by Will Royster, an LSA and Engineering junior and the BSU academic concerns committee chair, the purpose of the program is to encourage underrepresented minorities to apply to and enroll in the University. This initiative is beneficial for both the high school students and for the University as a whole. To keep expanding the program, as the BSU is currently in the works of doing, other student organizations should become involved in the initiative.

During their three-day stay, the high school students are given the opportunity to tour campus, participate in an SAT workshop and hear from admissions counselors. To participate in the program, students are expected to have a GPA of at least 3.0 and submit a 300-word essay. This requirement provides students with possibly their first experience writing college admissions essays.

The program allows students to envision themselves as future Wolverines by providing social activities for them, including opportunities to interact with different student organizations on campus and hear from an alum. The program also strives to connect the high school students with current students from the same area.

When talking about the program in an interview with the Daily, Royster stressed the importance of the program for minority students. “We want to allow them to acclimate to the culture and make them passionate about the University,” Royster said. “We want them to envision themselves at the University.”

Furthermore, this initiative provides an opportunity for the University to work toward increasing minority enrollment without violating Proposal 2, which prohibits affirmative action at Michigan universities. The program’s goal to increase enrollment of students within underrepresented groups has many merits. With a more diverse population, students will benefit from an environment in which ideas are fostered from people of varying backgrounds. If students are never exposed to individuals who come from different backgrounds than their own, they are limited by a lack of new perspectives. The purpose of higher minority enrollment is to promote inclusiveness, prevent discrimination and decrease the marginalization of minority voices on campus. Additionally, an increase in minority students will allow the University to better serve the state of Michigan and hold the University more accountable to the public it is serving.

Similar programs may be implemented in the future alongside the expansion of BSU’s program. While this is the first semester the BSU initiative will take place and the number of enrollees seems minimal, the program serves as a great first step to increase minority enrollment. Both the Central Student Government and the University should support this program in all possible ways and work with BSU toward its upcoming expansion.

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