Sacramento State holds a Unity Summit as a Hispanic-Serving Institution

Brian Ratto

Students, faculty and staff came together in the University Union Ballroom for a Hispanic-Serving Institution Unity Summit on Sept. 16.

The summit provided an opportunity to engage the campus and community at large in the process of emerging as a HSI, according to a Sept. 8 Sacramento State briefing.

“It is about serving those students, it is about opening our hearts, corazon,” said President Robert Nelsen.

The event had four breakout sessions for attendees ranging from preparation for and success in college, to lessons from student leaders and promotion of student success.

“Less than two percent of faculty are Hispanic,” said Deborah Santiago, chief operating officer and vice president for Excelencia in Education. “Faculty is essential, we have a real challenge to make sure we pay attention to Latinos at the graduate level and that we are creating opportunities at the faculty realm.”

As a HSI, Sac State appointed a task force to inform and educate the campus about achieving HSI eligibility; engage members from all campus sectors in meaningful dialogue on the future of Sac State as a HSI; and lay the groundwork to build the university’s capacity to apply for and secure HSI grant funds as stated on the Sac State website.

During the second half of the event there was a student panel comprised of Sac State students like first-year freshmen, transferred juniors and graduating seniors. The panel discussed various ways they can help themselves and other students succeed but also ways that Sac State can help the students succeed.

A HSI is an institution of higher education that has an enrollment of at least 25 percent Hispanic undergraduate full-time students.

“I am an AB 540 student, and a lot of professors and counselors don’t know about it. They need to get the information in regards to it,” said Veronica Ayala, a Sac State Chicano studies major, when asked what the institution can be doing to better student success.