Community leaders from business, government, and education gathered at Allison Mansion the morning of Saturday, May 18 to discuss a matter of great importance for higher education in central Indiana—the challenges of enrolling and retaining Latinos at local colleges and universities.
Angela Iza Adams, an attorney at Lewis & Kappes and a director in its immigration group, facilitated the discussion. Consul Juan Manual Solana of the Mexican Consulate was in attendance, and other participants included representatives from Indiana Latino Institute, Latino Youth Collective, La Plaza, Butler University, Wabash College, Cathedral High School, St. Michael Catholic School, and St. Gabriel Catholic School.
“I’m pleased that we were able to host such an esteemed group,” Sr. Norma Rocklage, OSF ’60, executive director of education formation outreach, said. “Most importantly, it gives this group the credibility required to make a difference for Latinos in our community. And it also provides an opportunity for these community leaders to develop relationships and timely strategies to meet the challenges.”
The day was made possible by a grant from Indiana Campus Compact, a not-for-profit organization whose mission is to support higher education’s efforts to develop students into well-informed, engaged citizens through service-learning and civic engagement initiatives. The May 18 meeting was the third time a funded group has gathered to discuss issues specific to the Latino community.
“Enrolling and retaining students from every background is a challenge for colleges and universities, but it’s especially challenging when it comes to Latinos due to the unique set of circumstances they face,” said Sr. Norma. “There are issues with standardized testing, financial aid, availability of information in Spanish, and more which need to be addressed.”
Indiana Campus Compact funded the meeting through a service engagement grant for its “Listening to Communities” initiative. The goal is to nurture campus and community dialogues and develop implementation strategies through reciprocal and sustainable partnerships.