CSUs seek more Latino participation in college

Originally published in the Spartan Daily March 8, 2010: Click here for link

California State University, along with Univision Communications and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, launched the campaign “Es El Momento” (the Moment is Now), according to a CSU news release on Feb. 23.

The three-year effort will focus on creating a college going culture among U.S. Latinos and setting expectations for an increased Latino high school graduation rate and Latino participation in college, Erik Fallis, CSU media relations specialist, stated in an e-mail.

Latinos are the fastest-growing minority group in the U.S., Fallis stated. It is essential that more Latinos graduate from college so they are ready to take leadership positions in all sectors of the economy, Fallis stated.

Jorge Ramos, Mexican anchor for Noticiero Univision, Univision’s news broadcast, will be the spokesperson for the campaign, according to the CSU news release.

“Having other Latinos help run the program and be spokespeople, I think, will help the campaign because they will know what we are going through,” said Gabe Quezada, a senior justice studies major and co-treasurer of Chicano Commencement.

Chicano Commencement is an organization on campus where students are recognized at a graduation ceremony that honors their accomplishments, all while incorporating the rich tradition of the Latino culture, according to the SJSU student involvement Web page.

Messages from the “Es El Momento” campaign will be delivered through a network of national, regional and local media featuring news and special programming, according to the CSU news release.

The campaign is expected to deliver deeper parental involvement in students’ academic achievement, according to the CSU news release.

“Latinos are the minority, but a majority at the same time, and there is an achievement gap between Latinos and other ethnicities,” said Christina Ramos, a master’s student in public administration and co-chair of Chicano Commencement.

Latinos seeking higher education will build themselves a better future, Ramos said.

“A great education is not an honor or privilege-it’s a fundamental civil right,” stated Melinda Gates, co-founder of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, in a Univision news release. “This partnership with Univision will not only inspire Hispanic students and their parents and community to aspire to a college education, a college education will give Latinos access to the information and tools they need to make their dream a reality,” stated Gates.

“We can’t think of a better partner to work with on “Es El Momento” than Univision, which shares this belief in the power of education,” stated Gates in a Univision news release.

A degree for Latinos will do more than benefit just the student, said senior finance major Marleh Villegas, co-fundraising chair for Chicano Commencement.

“Latinos seeking higher education not only helps them but their families and the whole Latino community,” Villegas said. “This campaign will give Latinos the opportunity to show people what we can do and are capable of.”


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