Office of Admissions restructures, creates new diversity committee

By SIRI TUMMALA | September 21, 2017


COURTESY OF MORGAN OME The restructured admissions office places a greater emphasis on diversity.

Student groups under the direction of the Office of Undergraduate Admissions have centralized their structure under Blue Key Society (Blue Key), a group which previously focused solely on campus tours. These changes led to the creation of new leadership opportunities and a committee addressing diversity and inclusion.

In addition to the newly created Diversity and Inclusion Committee, the new structure includes a Tour Supervisor Committee, New Member Committee and an International Recruitment Committee.

Blue Key is a student organization that works directly with the admissions office to conduct campus tours and on-campus admissions interviews. Members of the group interact with prospective and incoming students to offer insight into life at Hopkins.

​Annabeth Rodriguez, the visitor center student coordinator, wrote in an email to The News-Letter that these changes are designed to lend more leadership opportunities to students.

​“All volunteer opportunities will be centralized under Blue Key Society. This will allow students to be cross-trained, so they can be engaged in ways that are most meaningful to them,” she wrote.

​Rodriguez elaborated on the ongoing goals of the organization, such as developing a strong student volunteer group.

“Admissions offers many new campus visit options for prospective students. With this in mind, our goal is to develop a student volunteer base to support expanding these initiatives,” Rodriguez wrote. “The student volunteers are the face of the University and we need to ensure that this representation reflects a diverse and inclusive campus community at all programs.”

​Shannon Miller, the director of on-campus programming for the Office of Undergraduate Admissions, explained some of the changes in the Office’s structure in an email to The News-Letter.

“This year, we are joining our Multicultural Student Volunteers and International Student Liaisons into the larger group to create representation across all programming that reflects our diverse and inclusive community,” she wrote. “In the coming year, we plan to further... expand opportunities and best support admissions programming.”

Moreover, Miller elaborated on the purpose of the new Diversity and Inclusion Committee that was added this year.

“This committee is a group of students interested in strengthening diverse perspectives, including racial, ideological, and identity based,” she wrote. “Committee members, through engagements and discussions, will help to raise awareness of diversity and inclusion issues in all aspects of recruitment programming.”

The University hired Damian Garcia as the associate director for access and diversity in admissions to manage the new committee.

“[Garcia] will continue to ensure the implementation of our diversity recruitment programs,” Miller wrote. “In addition, he will work on developing new initiatives in admissions programming in order to represent the diverse community and opportunities here at Hopkins to prospective students and families.”

Sophomore Grace Troy is a member of Blue Key, giving campus tours and conducting on-campus admission interviews once a week. She commented on the group’s new structure.

​“It’s a streamlined process so we can give prospective students the best version of Hopkins possible, and kids are seeing a unified admissions group,” Troy said. “That way any questions they might have are directed to the right people and when you come to Hopkins as a prospective student you get the best experience possible.”

​Troy said that she appreciated the creation of more opportunities that followed the changes in the organization.

​“I do like the idea because with the restructuring it is giving Blue Key members a chance to be more involved with the organization,” she said.

Elizabeth Berry, a sophomore, said that she joined Blue Key her freshman year because the tour she took at Hopkins as a prospective student was a deciding factor in her college decision. She said that the new structure is good because of the opportunities it provides.

“Before I felt like it was just a few leadership positions and then the whole general masses,” Berry said. “I really like these committees and ways of getting more involved with the organization without being the head of Blue Key or one of the top officers.”

She said that she was glad to see the organization taking steps to increase diversity and inclusion.

“Last year I got a lot of questions that I had some trouble answering, especially regarding diversity and inclusion,” she said. “We do a lot of training with tough questions, but I think having a better idea of how to answer those questions would have been really nice. That’s just one of the major things the Diversity and Inclusion Committee is going to really help.”

Though she supports steps to increase diversity, Berry said that the University had to be careful in representing diversity and reaching out to international students.

“It needs to be handled correctly,” she said. “I don’t think there’s a general consensus on how to handle it across the board with different colleges. They all have different approaches to diversity, so it’s something that we need to be really careful with to make sure that we get right.”

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