Radford University says student population is more diverse than ever

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RADFORD (WSLS 10) – The student population is changing at Radford University.

The student body in 2015 was the most diverse in the school’s history, according to the university.

In 2005, the minority student population was about 12 percent, 10 years later it nearly tripled to 32.5 percent.

The percentage of African-American students during that same time period nearly tripled. From 6 percent in 2005 to 17 percent last year.

Leaders credit part of the increase to aggressive recruiting in parts of Texas and California and in areas like Richmond, Tidewater and Northern Virginia.

They even added a Spanish-speaking counselor to focus on the Latino population.

“Looking into more in Arlington where there’s a huge Hispanic population and really targeting those high schools in those areas and those community-based organizations and those have paid great dividends,” explained Radford Dean of Admissions James Pennix.

Students at Radford University will quickly tell you they made the right decision to be a Highlander.

“I love it. It’s a home for me,” said Cilicia Ferguson, a junior.

To make sure students succeed while at Radford, they also have a new center for diversity and inclusion that the school opened in July.

African-American students said having multicultural organizations like the Diversity Awareness Program at the Center for Diversity and Inclusion has helped her transition at Radford University.

“It allowed me to be involved because I’ve found my niche in my areas. I’ve gotten involved in Young Life and I go to the NAACP general body meetings,” continued Ferguson.

Leaders at the Center for Diversity and Inclusion said it’s vital for Radford to make sure students from all backgrounds feel comfortable.

“It’s imperative we have these organizations on campus because they allow the students to make it feel smaller for them,” explained Crasha Townsend, the director of the Center for Diversity and Inclusion.

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