UCF is a Hispanic Serving Institution

UCF is a Hispanic Serving Institution

September 19, 2019 1 By Kody Olson


(light music) – When I arrived I was the
first chief diversity officer but not the first person to
work on diversity and issues at UCF, and one of the things I’d heard as I did my own research
was that we were on the cusp of becoming an Hispanic
serving institution and I really didn’t know
what all the opportunities were that came with that. What can we do that’s innovative, what can we do around
partnerships on this topic? And that became apparent
that this was our fastest growing student population,
it was our fastest growing community population and we
had a real moment in time to do that better an anybody
else around the country. It really felt like we’re on the path to doing that, it’s very exciting. – It’s great to see
here in Central Florida and specifically UCF how diverse we are and how rich we are
having different cultures, having different backgrounds. We all learn from each other. – UCF’s Hispanic diversity
very much represents the community we come from. Almost one out of three
people in Central Florida and Orlando have Hispanic heritage. 26% of our own students do,
which remarkably represents over 17,500 students at UCF. – So at DNA we’re a
community, it’s our UCF creed, and if we don’t understand
what we’re made up of then are we actually a community? So yeah, we’re taking up more than 1/4 of the campus community now, so I think it’s almost a necessity not only for the Hispanic
community to be recognized but you continue to talk
about any other diverse group that is not a majority. – As USF’s HSI lead, I have the pleasure of chairing out Hispanic
Serving Institution taskforce. This taskforce is made up of faculty, staff and students all across our campus representing different
areas of our campus, and we have the
opportunity to get together regularly to have conversations
about what it means to be a Hispanic serving institution. What it means for our campus community and what are the appropriate
steps that need to be taken for us to charge on. – As somebody who left
home to come to UCF, Hispanic families are
known to be very attached. So it gives, I guess, your family comfort in knowing that you
are gonna be surrounded by your community and
you’re not gonna lose part of your culture,
and you’re not gonna, you’re still gonna be
immersed in your culture. – As an HSI, we have gained opportunity not only for the Latino community but for all the different
communities on campus. Gaining those resources,
getting that collaboration, and inclusivity on campus. – Our focus is the serving piece. How do we serve the Latino community? What can we learn in this process about how we can evaluate the needs of a particular population and implement initiatives and programs that can serve our various communities on our campus. – Our HSI identity serve
all UCF Knights because it shows that we are diverse here at UCF. We can just show everyone how proud we are to be a UCF Knight, and how we welcome everyone in and our
commitment to our diversity inclusion amongst all students of every race, color, creed and code. – I think when it came to resource I think students don’t realize that
this will benefit everyone when there’s more programs,
when there’s more money, there’s more scholarships offered whatever is offered, it’s for everyone. You know, we’re not trying
to just only for Latinos and Hispanics, for everyone. – And in addition to that, our Knights, because of all this exposure
to people who may look and speak differently than they do, it will really equip our
Knights to be successful in the workforce, because the workforce is very diverse, so we are a
little bit ahead of the curve while equipping our Knights for success. – For us it’s in our DNA, it’s who we already are,
and as we move forward we’re being very deliberate
about what it means not just to be an Hispanic institution, but Hispanic serving. So what does that mean
not only to our faculty, our staff and our own students, but what does it mean in terms of our role in the culture of the community and our role in the culture
in the state of Florida? (mumbles) Knights – We define serving. – [All] SOS grande. (light music)