Published on May 31st, 2017 | by Aasha Francis0
Wright receives Title V grant as a Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI)
Wright College identifies as a Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI), which means that the school’s demographic consists of 25% and over, of students who identify as Hispanic and Latinx. Currently, Wright College falls at 60% and climbing, which lands the college in this unique category, awarding us with the 5-year long Title V Grant, which Wright received in 2012. Wright is 1 of 14 colleges in the state of Illinois to be identified as HSI. The grant is allocated from the Department of Education to support Latinx and Hispanic communities here at Wright college. The funds focus on institution to student impact and how curriculum design and development, support services, shape the experience of Hispanic and Latinx students.
Andrea Elzy, Director of Student Development is the new overseer of the Title V grant at Wright College. A native of Los Angeles, Elzy’s upbringing drove her passion and she now looks to cultivate student leadership on campuses. “As a first generation college graduate, and an LGBTQ woman of color, I have such a love for social justice, leadership, and higher education,” Elzy says. Elzy completed her undergraduate degrees at the University of California Santa Cruz, earning bachelor’s degrees in both politics and sociology. She graduated with her Master’s degree at the University of Southern California (USC) in post-secondary administration, student affairs, and is currently finishing her Ed.D. at USC in higher education administration and organizational leadership. Her position at Wright looks at efforts around equity, diversity and inclusion. Elzy found that research over the years show that students who actively see themselves represented within the culture and climate of the institution, amongst the faculty and staff, and across college platforms tend to persist, graduate, and ultimately stay involved and engaged with the institution. “My goal is to create programs and support services that are multi-layered; which look at this population as not only Hispanic and Latinx – but also as working students, sometimes with children, sometimes first generation identifying, sometimes undocumented- and being mindful about how all of Wright’s services encompass, represent, and captures everyone who sits under this umbrella,” Elzy says.
Elzy’s first huge project is working closely with students at Wright to develop a “student leadership week” during Hispanic Heritage Month, designated for September 15th – October 15th. The formation of a student led committee with a focus on Hispanic and Latinx leadership efforts on campus paired with peer mentoring and improving upon student and staff support services. “I think for me, my call to action is to ensure that any student that we serve is able to go into any space on campus and feel supported, represented- and in that vein, to also create unique opportunities for engagement for students as they work to obtain their degrees and engage in a college experience conducive to personal achievement and growth,” Elzy says.
Elzy serves on the committee for the equity symposium, a staff and faculty-led event that Wright plans to hold in September, to look at how the college is engaging and creating a climate conducive to what an HSI institution should look like and provide clarity in terms of where the school’s efforts are heading long term. For students at Wright interested in pursuing student leadership roles or lend ideas on how the campus can improve programs and services related to student leadership week or student involvement, they can reach out to Elzy directly via email firstname.lastname@example.org