Colorado State University was recently recognized as the University of the Year by the National Hispanic Institute. The honor recognized CSU’s 25-year-long partnership promoting and encouraging higher education within the Latino community.
The university, the only state-supported institution identified to work with NHI, was recognized for hosting the Lorenzo de Zavala Youth Legislative Session each summer in addition to promoting participation through the Alliance Program and other partnership activities. The Alliance Program unites students, families, high school personnel, and the Colorado State University with a common goal of envisioning education beyond high school, ultimately sending a greater number of Colorado students to college.
“The National Hispanic Institute was founded to serve future leadership needs of the country via the Hispanic/Latino Community. Thirty five years ago, the founders of this program envisioned the importance of developing youth and community by providing leadership and academic programs. They have been successful in developing individuals who are now serving and making important contributions in government, education, science and industry. The programs of NHI, which now extends internationally, continue to make a difference in the lives of the young people they serve. We are proud to be recognized by this dynamic organization and look forward to continued collaboration,” said Vice President for Diversity Mary Ontiveros.
“CSU has consistently been a part of NHI’s work for almost 30 years. Whether it has been by sponsoring the LDZ, recruiting at fairs or the Collegiate World Series, serving of the College Register advisory board, or by making numerous scholarships available for high school students to attend the LDZ and NHI alumni who enroll in undergraduate studies, CSU has set a high standard for strategic partners who work with NHI in developing youth leaders,” said Ernesto Nieto, founder and president of NHI.
Fostering essential skillsThe Colorado Lorenzo de Zavala Youth Legislative Session, which began in 1983, is a weeklong conference where students are asked to assess the promise and potential of a community rooted in a reality of dual cultures and examine the assets of the Latino community and its trajectory. The event gives high school sophomores and juniors a better understanding of community equity building and a chance to improve their skills – such as critical thinking, collaboration and the ability to influence outcomes as well as public speaking, organizational management and constituency building. These are all essential skills to facilitate success as a leader in the 21st century Latino community.
“In recent years, CSU has worked closely to also revive and expand programming opportunities for Coloradoans from hard-to-serve or hard-to-reach communities through the Alliance program,” said Nieto. “This year CSU has quickly become one of NHI’s top colleges for members once again. There are many more projects and efforts that have grown from this relationship and many of them due to the direct leadership of CSU Vice President for Diversity Mary Ontiveros.”
“Like any true partnership, the benefits are genuinely mutual. We deeply appreciate NHI’s recognition of our commitment to fostering educational success of Latino students. We are in return grateful that NHI has given us the tools, best practices, and curriculum to put into place programs, initiatives and community engagement practices that has led to better ways to recruit and retain Latino students,” said Associate Vice President for Access and Diversity and Executive Director of the Access Center Oscar Felix. “Our land grant mission is deeply rooted in an ethos of serving all of our communities, and NHI has been an invaluable partner in allowing us to meet this obligation to the increasingly important Latino community.”
This article was written by Kayla Green.
For more information regarding Lorenzo de Zavala Youth Legislative Session at CSU, please visit http://www.nhi-net.org/Pages/LDZ.aspx