Vanguard University celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15 with the help of the El Puente club. During the month, numerous events and activities are offered to create an inclusive environment.
A school is deemed a Hispanic Serving Institution when it is an accredited, public or private nonprofit institution with 25% or more total full-time, Hispanic undergraduate students enrolled. Becoming a Hispanic Serving Institution in 2015, the Department of Education granted Vanguard with the first Title V award for $2.6 million in order to help low-income Hispanic students through loans, grants, and other types of funding.
El Puente club Lead, Ester Rodas, is passionate about the needs of the student body and works hard with the rest of the club to make the campus inclusive.
“I’m looking forward to building a community and building bridges where we need them. El Puente, in English, is bridge…I would just like to see students come out of their comfort zone—their voices are meant to be used,” Rodas said.
El Puente organized a Block Party on Sept. 25 to start the celebration, which resulted in a big turn out, according to Rodas.
“It was just a nice way to let the Hispanic and Latino community celebrate their culture,” Rodas said.
El Puente hosted a FAFSA Workshop on Oct. 1 with the goal to give students an event that is both practical and social, according to Rodas.
“I found it really helpful to ask questions and to hear other students ask their questions. I think events like these really help us be more accountable. It also creates a support group for those who have to do the FAFSA alone,” El Puente club member, Jennifer Sian, said.
According to Rodas, she receives a lot of positive feedback from the students and staff for hosting these activities.
“We are in college, you need that mentorship. Sometimes [students] don’t feel comfortable. If we’re going to accept these students, we’re going to have to be able to accommodate [students] as well. That’s what I’m doing so students feel connected,” Rodas said.