September 19, 2017
In recent years, it has become increasingly obvious that individuals, companies and nations cannot exist separately from the rest of the world.
International business has flourished, and we are beginning to understand that there is no way for one person to know everything.
The UCCS Portal, a gold shipping container located on the shipping dock between the University Center and El Pomar Center, is one of many potential solutions to one human limitation: distance.
Students step inside and are connected with someone hundreds, or even thousands, of miles away for 20 minutes. Through this portal, students have had the opportunity to learn more about citizens in countries such as Palestine, Myanmar, Iran and Germany.
This is exactly what technology was meant for: connecting with the globe, understanding each other and achieving what used to be impossible.
By sharing vastly different perspectives, created by an individual’s culture, education and life experiences, only strengthens our own understanding of how the world works and what are people’s real needs that we can address.
This portal gives us just a brief glimpse into someone else’s world, and if we choose, perhaps we can use this opportunity to take a step out of our own lives and embrace the value of our own diversity at UCCS.
UCCS may be populated with many Colorado natives, but there is more to learn about your classmates, teachers and community members than meets the eye. This portal teaches us how to think globally and apply these principles in a local setting.
Sitting in classrooms on our campus are students from Albania, Bolivia, Greece, Senegal, Congo, India, Zimbabwe, Russia, Nigeria, Ukraine and Kenya.
Walking our halls are veterans, musicians, athletes and poets.
Riding the shuttles and walking up the spine are radio hosts, vegans, gamers, jazz dancers, graphic designers, actors, skaters and Olympians.
If you look to your left, you’ll see someone from a different state or country than you. If you look to your right, you’ll look upon someone with a seemingly foreign religious background.
Take our small editorial staff for example. We’re all writers, but within just seven editors, we have a pre-medical student who grew up in Germany, an English major who spent most of her life in Hawaii and a future teacher.
We have childhoods that were spread across all corners of Colorado, one traveler spent the last semester studying in Austria, a Spanish speaker, a rap-lover and a producer of electronic music.
Having a collection of diverse experiences allows people to form a sense of appreciation for lives outside of our own and what sort of challenges or daily struggles these individuals might face.
It’s fascinating to learn about what school is like in different parts of the world, how different customs and etiquette are in various situations and the challenges that those in other countries face that we may never experience.
Pieces of the entire globe can be found within a one-mile radius of you, and it’s a vast, crazy world out there and right here.
But, with or without technology, we should be just as fascinated with striking up a conversation with someone next to you in line at a downtown coffee shop.
Students should ask questions, remain curious and take their love of learning with them everywhere they go.
There is so much to learn from each other that we will never know unless we ask.