Roanoke College announced earlier this week that it has strengthened its commitment to supporting current and future Hispanic students with a new membership in the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU). The college is one of only three higher education institutions in Virginia with membership in HACU, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to promote Hispanic student success in higher education.
The college said that its students will now benefit from HACU’s expertise in serving Hispanic students, enjoying access to the association’s resources, initiatives and experts. Those resources include internships, scholarships and leadership development programs.
“We are deeply committed to becoming a destination for Hispanic students, particularly in our region, and we are working hard to create a welcoming, inclusive environment in which all students can realize and reach their potential,” said President Frank Shushok Jr. “The partnership with HACU represents an important step to ensuring we meet our goals and provide Hispanic students with the support they need to achieve their future goals. Through this membership, we hope to create many more educational and career opportunities for Hispanic students throughout the region and world.”
In the past five years, applications from Hispanic students have increased 11.65% at Roanoke College, and first-year Hispanic enrollment at Roanoke has grown 73%. This growth reflects the increased number of Hispanic students seeking a college education and Roanoke College’s stronger recruitment of this population.
Maria “Janny” Alvarado, a 2020 graduate and assistant director of admissions, is leading the school’s Hispanic recruitment efforts. Alvarado supports current and prospective Hispanic students and their families by leading webinars and tours in Spanish and recruiting Hispanic students from high schools across the nation.
“We are excited to begin connecting our students with all of the incredible opportunities available through HACU, and we are proud to say we are one of only three colleges in Virginia that is a member of HACU,” Alvarado said. “For over 30 years, the HACU National Internship Program has partnered with organizations to diversify their workforce. The internship and scholarship opportunities are going to be a game changer for Roanoke students.”
The college said that its Office of Multicultural Affairs offers a variety of opportunities for Hispanic students on campus. Whether they are connecting with mentors on the very first day or organizing Hispanic Heritage Month events through HOLA, students have the opportunity for leadership and involvement. HOLA is the Hispanic Organization for Leadership and Achievement, and annual events include the International Film Festival and the Garren Diversity Awards.
-The Salem Times-Register