Date of Award

Spring 5-2018

Degree Type

Honors College Thesis


Mass Communication and Journalism

First Advisor

Holly Foster

Advisor Department

Educational Studies and Research


Colleges and universities are becoming increasingly racially/ethnically diverse. Previous studies have noted that an increase in racial/ethnic diversity has positive outcomes for minority and majority groups. Additional research supports that positive diversity experiences in student organizations have benefits for college students (Kuk & Banning, 2010; Cheng & Zhao, 2007; Antonio, 2001). While the benefits of increased diversity are clear, no previous study was found to have looked at diversity experiences at USM or more specifically, USM’s student organizations. The current study examined the degree to which leaders of each organization perceived experiences of diversity as positive compared to the members’ perception of diversity experiences within the organization. This study consisted of 73 college students ages 18-23 who identify as members or leaders of an organization sponsored by the university. In this sample, two organizations showed noteworthy differences in perceptions between the two groups. However, lack of significance in the other organizations provided suggestions for future research.