Western Oregon hosts 2nd Hispanic-Serving Institution Summit

MONMOUTH, Ore. –  On April 26th, 2023, Western Oregon University hosted its 2nd Annual Hispanic-Serving Institution (HSI) Summit. The first Summit, in April 2022, focused on developing a shared understanding of what it means to be a federally-designated HSI.

This year’s Summit, Making Conexiones, expanded and continued to provide a space for our university community, including our state and national partners, to provide multiple perspectives and help us learn from each other. The list included Oregon HECC, Excelencia in Education, Chemeketa Community College, Portland State University, University of Oregon, Oregon Institute of Technology, and many more. 

“For this Summit, Western Oregon decided to invite leaders from around the state to participate. We wanted collective voices from political leaders, K-12 leaders, and higher education leaders,” said President Jesse Peters. He emphasized the fact that Western Oregon is the four-year public institution that is the closest to achieving the HSI federal designation. “We want to put ourselves in the best position to serve our students in the best ways, and we do that by fostering good strategies through conversations with partners.”

Western Oregon’s goal was to focus on bringing together the campus, the community, and both regional and national partners to discuss what it means to become an HSI and why it is so critically important to the success of Latino/a/x students, our university, and the greater community. Currently, Western Oregon’s student body is made up of 21.9% Latino/a/x students.

“Western Oregon becoming an HSI would better help represent and serve the Hispanic and Latino/a/x community on campus, as well as the community that surrounds Western Oregon like families of Hispanic and First-Generation students at Western Oregon,” says Julieta Alarcon, a freshman at Western, who participated in this year’s Summit. “This would provide tons of opportunities for students and better support not only for Hispanic and Latino/a/x students on campus but provide a better educational experience for everyone.” 

A federal designation nationally signifies Western Oregon’s commitment to supporting and adapting to meet the ever-changing needs of our students. This also allows Western Oregon to apply for federal funds to expand educational opportunities and improve retention and success rates for Latino/a/x students and creates the roadmap for serving underrepresented students in higher education. These funds would also allow Western Oregon to expand and enhance academic offerings, program quality, and institutional stability that support Latino/a/x students and other underrepresented students.

Western Oregon will continue to build on the foundation that we set these last two years and expand the collaboration to better support our communities and students. 

About Western Oregon University

Western Oregon University, founded in 1856 in Monmouth, is the state’s oldest public university. Serving about 4,000 students, WOU is a mid-sized, NCAA Division II institution with about 70% of the student population being from Oregon. A significant portion of attendees are members of under-represented groups, veterans, or non-traditional students. WOU is Oregon’s campus of choice for those seeking a transformative education in a supportive, student-centered learning community where classes are taught by faculty. Together we succeed.

Media Contact
Brittany Kima, Public Information Officer
503-838-8065 | kimab@wou.edu

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