Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month
The food, the music, the work ethic, the passion — Hispanic-Americans have a lot to be proud of. When our ancestors immigrated to the United States, they brought with them the rich and vibrant heritage that we celebrate today. Hispanic Heritage Month, celebrated annually Sept. 15 through Oct. 15, is a time set aside to celebrate our proud heritage and to create robust opportunities for future generations.
All types of diversity are celebrated on campus, but we are especially proud of our commitment to our Latino and Hispanic population. Earlier this year, Marshalltown Community College received the Emerging Hispanic Serving Institution designation. This designation is awarded to colleges and universities where at least 15 percent of its students identify as Latino or Hispanic. MCC is one of only four colleges in the state of Iowa that earned this designation. Last spring, we set a goal to increase Hispanic enrollment by 5 percent – and we reached this goal. We’re not stopping there. MCC is striving to earn the Hispanic Serving Institution designation, which is awarded to colleges and universities who have 25 percent of its students who identify as Latino/Hispanic.
Enrollment isn’t our only focus. MCC believes strongly in fostering an atmosphere where Latino and Hispanic students can achieve greatness. We have dedicated groups on campus that celebrate and enrich the student experience. Our goal is to not only provide a world-class education, but to ensure that our students have the tools they need to succeed after graduation. Providing networking and fellowship opportunities is a part of this mission. MCC created “MCC Es Para Mi” (MCC is for me) as a dedicated student group designed for Latino and Hispanic students.
“MCC Es Para Mi” not only honors the diversity of our Latino and Hispanic student populations, but also provides a wide variety of perspectives represented in our student population. The group focuses on improving lives for students while on campus, but also post-college – we discuss career training, and provide an avenue for upward mobility. We are working to create opportunities for our current students, but also future generations.
We are always looking for ways to deepen our relationships within the local Latino and Hispanic communities. Join us in celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month all month long. Stay tuned for virtual bilingual college planning events, first-generation visit days, student engagement opportunities and much more.
Valerie Ruiz is an academic advising specialist
at Marshalltown Community College