EWU Hosts Inaugural Latino Forum

April 30, 2019 By David Meany
Original artwork by Washington artist Victor Fuentes

Eastern Washington University is set to host the first-ever Cinco de May Latino Forum as part of its ongoing commitment to recruit, retain and graduate a diverse group of students in innovative new ways.

The Friday, May 3 event will include nationally renowned keynote speakers, educators, community leaders and professionals leading panels and roundtable presentations on how the diversification of curriculum would benefit the Latino and diverse students attending EWU. It is part of a proactive effort by Eastern to earn designation as a Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI), an institution of higher education that enrolls at least 25 percent Chicana/o undergraduate students.

“The Latino Forum is essentially going to kick off this objective,” says Martín García, PhD, interim director of EWU’s Chicana/Chicano Studies Program. “Embracing Hispanic Serving Institution status I think will allow the university to develop more programs that are friendly to this student population.”

Eastern has one of the highest percentages of Hispanic students among public universities in the state of Washington, with just more than 16 percent of its total enrollment made up of Latino/Hispanic students. And the state is forecasting continued growth for the Latino population over the next 20 years. Becoming a Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI) would allow EWU to seek grants that would help the university expand and enhance the academic offerings for Hispanic students.

García says the conference is designed to work with some of the communities with growing numbers of Latino students that EWU will hopefully be serving in the years to come.

“One of our objectives with the Latino Forum is to get individuals from community colleges and high schools for example to serve as the feeder schools for our institution.”

Forum attendees will have an opportunity to hear speakers such Gita Ann Garcia, PhD, an expert on issues of equity and diversity in higher education, and EWU President Emeritus Rodolfo Arévalo, who was the first Latino president at a four-year college or university in the state.

Other discussion topics will include best practices for recruitment, retention and graduation of Latinx students, and the best tactics for recruiting, hiring and retaining diverse faculty and staff. A fundraising dinner and dance following the Forum will provide scholarship support for Eastern students of Latino heritage.

The inaugural EWU Cinco De Mayo Latino Forum:

  • Friday, May 3
  • Pence Union Building (PUB), Nysether Community Room, Cheney Campus
  • Forum 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Fundraising dinner/dance 6–10 p.m.
  • For more information please contact the EWU Chicanx Studies Program at chicanoed@ewu.edu or 509.359.2404.

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