Attracting diverse students to Notre Dame
Letter to the Editor | Wednesday, November 15, 2006
Why did you choose Notre Dame? It is not uncommon for freshmen to be asked this question by peers and professors. Many students reference the institution’s Catholic heritage and academic excellence. However, when people learn that I am Muslim, they ask why did you choose Notre Dame if you’re a Muslim? As a practicing Muslim, I explain that many of the values advocated at Notre Dame are not necessarily Catholic; they are secular values that enhance oneself regardless of his/her respective faith. After explaining the basic tenets of Islam, many of my peers respond by recognizing the vast similarities between Islam and Christianity.
In order for Notre Dame to become a more diverse community and attract people of other religions, I believe that it should make it known that while Catholicism remains integral to its identity, the values and morals emphasized at the University embrace people of all faiths. Many of my Muslim friends chose to attend Georgetown University for that very reason; it emphasizes values as well as diversity. While Notre Dame can significantly improve its image as a multi-cultural university, the University has been supportive of interfaith councils such as the Muslim Student Association. In order to attract people of other religious beliefs, the University should make it known that Notre Dame is not simply for Catholics. As a result of expressed interest in other faiths, Notre Dame can attract even more diverse and talented students to attend the University. I recognize this as a necessary step in order for Notre Dame to compete with other prestigious universities and establish itself as the ideal institution for people of all faiths.