For being a very small, upstate New York liberal arts college, Elmira has a growing, diverse population. Students from more than 20 countries annually attend EC, bringing lots of different ideas to campus. The English as a Second Language (ESL) program is very popular, and the presence of international students is obvious. Most students are predominantly white and primarily Christian, Jewish, or agnostic. Elmira College events begin with an invocation and a prayer, but they are pretty broad and inclusive of different religions. Students are not really focused on religious aspects of life, but those involved with religious organizations, such as Christian Fellowship and Hillel, try to include as many students as they can at their events.
There is a surprisingly large gay/lesbian population for such a small college, and there are hardly ever any acts of intolerance. Students at Elmira College are proud of who they are, but they are also accepting and tolerant of other beliefs. When there are students who step over the line, the campus responds immediately. Most students seem to enjoy a liberal view on politics and society, but EC is not really a politically active campus. Students are generally more concerned with societal problems than political ones. EC has the College Democrats and the College Republicans, and these groups focus on helping local candidates campaign during election season.