Students from all over the world come to Buffalo, particularly for the prestigious engineering and computer science programs. It's the norm for students to hear several different languages and to see several different styles of dress as they walk from class to class. Ethnic student groups are major institutions that spend their sizable budgets on showy festivals and cultural celebrations. Just because nearly all the American students are from New York State doesn't mean they are not a diverse group-Latinos from New York City, upper-middle-class kids from the parts of Long Island where The Great Gatsby was set strong, silent types from the Adirondack foothills, Jamaican Americans from Jamaica, Queens, and middle-class suburban kids from all over the state. Some kids drive BMWs that they got as birthday presents, while others take the campus buses and work part-time jobs just to pay their tuition. UB's lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community is visible and influential, and there are dozens of student religious groups.
While everyone treasures the diversity, most people at UB don't have any illusions about the poor state of ethnic integration on campus. Real flare-ups (shouting matches and bar fights) are more likely to ensue between upstate and downstate factions than people from different races. Most student groups are informally segregated, and while American students often learn a lot about other cultures, such learning is often passive, like learning about the weather by looking out the window. Some international students study in the U.S. out of necessity and give Americans a cold shoulder. And some Americans, at their worst, apply negative stereotypes to foreign students. UB's diversity is impressive and exciting but somewhat superficial.