Updated: May 8, 2020
What is your name, year and major?
Hi, Im Namuundari, I'm a senior and I study civil engineering.
Why did you come to UMass Dartmouth?
For me it's a long story, I didn't choose Dartmouth from the beginning when I was planning to come here, I have a government scholarship from my country, and to get the scholarship I had to first of all be accepted in one of the top 100 universities that year. The UMass system was in 97 the year I applied. The government scholarship required me to choose a major from the list they gave me, a list of majors that are needed more in my country. So then I picked civil engineering.UMass Dartmouth has a good engineering program, therefore why I am here.
Do you think the faculty at UMass Dartmouth it Diverse?
The faculty? Yes. Most of the professors in the civil engineering department are not from here. All around I have seen some diverse staff.
How do you think the university treats/ views its students of color / minority students?
That's tough. I really felt like a minority here, first of all but in terms of how the university makes me feel I don't really have much to say. I don't think I have experienced much or been out there involved in much to see what the university‘s views are. I’m the type of person that would keep things to myself. t I would just keep quiet and accept this is what's happening to me and it's fine, I’ve had that mentality. And when you asked me this question I thought about it and i'm like I don't know what the school system’s like because I’ve been on my own. Now I think the school lacks understanding in the lives of international students, especially minorities here at UMass Dartmouth.
How does it feel when you enter a dominantly white space?
Being in that type of space doesn't bother me because I don't expect people to openly make me uncomfortable if I am the only asian there. I’ve learned to be comfortable with those types of situations because that’s how I am in most of my cases. I’ve learned to adapt to my environment Because I’ve had to move around and transfer schools a lot as a child. I will say that I am more comfortable hanging out with other minorities or international students. Because we share the same struggles and therefore are more understanding of each other.
Have you ever utilized the counseling center on campus, and how was it? How impactful would it be to have a counselor of color on staff?
I’ve never used the counseling center, but it's surprising for me to hear that there's no counselor of color. I think it would help though. I'm sure there would be people who feel not welcome or not comfortable with people who might not understand.
Have you ever attended events put on by multi cultural orgs and what do these things mean to you?
I came through a program called Navitas for international students. A little insight on what that is, it's a one year program that we go through during our freshman year. They pick out my classes for my first year and there basically taking two semesters of classes and splitting into three small semesters including the summer as one semester. Navitas was really nice, everyone who was in my classes was with Navitas so it was always international students, and they would organize a lot of events constantly. They are very multicultural, they would go to the beach and it was very fun and it was very comfortable because I know everyone around me and I know we’re the same in a way. As in we are foreigners in America.
Has the school cut funding to these orgs, do you feel like the school supports and validates these events?
I think the university tries to support these organizations and have the school be diverse and all that. I see them working and I see a lot of events that are multicultural and shows there is effort somewhere. I’ve been to events from ASA, ISA, PSA and have always enjoyed my time there.
How do you feel about white students on campus….What do you wish they would do differently?
I don't know, the people I’ve met have been really nice. I haven't had a bad experience with people here but from stories I hear, I’ve heard different things. People, they're just the way they are. A lot of factors play in who you become as a person, as part of a society. It could range from academics, environment, to friends and family. I don't think I can find fault in anyone nor try to change them, because in the end a person can only change from within..
For example my tuition, gets paid by my government whom send money every semester but they are always late. So I always have a hold on my account and restricts me from registering for classes. So I go to the Bursar's Office and explain my situation and I tell them the government sent the money and it’ll just take a few days to arrive because it’s an international transfer, and I had literally one day left for add/ drop to close. I even told her I can get the bank statement that the money is sent. I went there so many times. There's always the administration that says they want to help the students but when you actually go there, there's nothing they can do. I just sat outside of the office and cried, like what am I gonna do? I have been in that situation multiple times. But then I also hear that an american student, talked their way into removing their hold..