From 2014–2018 Hispanic enrollment has increased 33% at Ferris, as a result of the Latin@ program.
Founded in the fall of 2012, The Center of Latin@ Studies (CLS) was intended to connect with Latinx communities across West Michigan. This began with Ferris officials reaching out to local high schools and communities to understand what types of barriers Latinx community members faced when pursuing success in post-secondary education. Along with these efforts the program also connects with students at Ferris to better understand their needs as well. All of this has led to the uptick in enrollment.
“Throughout all of this developing we have also worked alongside students to reestablish the Spanish Club, Hispanic Student Organization and provided support to Sigma Lambda Gamma Sorority Inc. and Sigma Lambda Beta Fraternity Inc. in their formation at Ferris State University. Holistically, we have been making intentional and meaningful connections within the Latinx community to support studies in their post-secondary decisions,” Ferris executive director and cofounder of The Center of Latin@ Studies Kaylee Burke said.
Ferris students also believe it important to better the Latin@ program on campus and are fully supportive of their efforts to better the community.
“I think it promotes diversity in a way that a lot of underrepresented students see that more of their culture is coming to Ferris so they feel more encouraged to go to college,” Ferris HR management student and junior Edith Moreno said.
Not only has the Latin@ program been successful in recruiting students in the past but also has more in store for the future. These plans are intended to better the experiences of students on campus and to also further increase enrollment .
“This summer, CLS and the L.E.A.D. by Design Program are collaborating with the TIP Scholars Early Move in Program to expand an early move in program for Fall 2020. Additionally, our office is looking at more intentional ways to connect with Latinx faculty and staff on campus to increase representation and address the needs of the Latinx professional community on campus. We are also interested in providing a training to campus partners about being allies to the undocumented and DACA community.” Burke said.
Other students also think it is a vital part of the college experience to be encompassed in diverse culture for the opportunities it provides them.
“I’m from somewhere that’s not diverse at all and I like it a lot more here where the people are diverse,” Ferris freshmen Madison Leader said.
Ferris is making great efforts to expand their diversity among the campus and the Latin@ program is a major asset to this process.