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Warren County high schoolers attend WKU Hispanic VIP Day

Two+students+read+a+brochure+at+Hispanic+VIP+Day+hosted+by+WKU+on+Oct+18%2C+2023.+
Garrett Woodrum
Two students read a brochure at Hispanic VIP Day hosted by WKU on Oct 18, 2023.

WKU hosted a Hispanic VIP Day for Warren County High schoolers to preview the university and its resources on Wednesday, Oct. 18.

“If this could make someone feel like WKU is their home, then it’s worth it,” Jessica Basham, communication specialist, said. 

Basham values the one-on-one conversations professors, students and faculty get to have with students on these preview days. 

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“Anytime you get to talk to a student is important to me,” Basham said.

Sarah Graves, school psychology graduate student, agreed, emphasizing the importance of student engagement. Graves, along with the other representatives, tried to “get an idea of what they’re interested in” and give high schoolers guidance on departments and resources.

Alongside the one-on-one meetings they had with faculty, over sixty students in attendance heard presentations from multiple WKU college deans, ISEC, admissions and financial aid. This was followed by lunch with students involved in HOLAS, the Hilltopper Organization of Latin American Students, and an individualized meeting with the organization’s faculty advisor and professor Fabián Álvarez, as well as being provided with a campus tour. 

Modern languages department chair and professor Alexander Poole played a major role in the organization of this event. Poole values it as an opportunity to recruit local Latino students and let them know what opportunities are available on campus. Poole said it lets students “know our programs and WKU are good choices for them and we want them to come,” and that “[They] want to be available if they need resources.”

Poole believes it’s “important for the university to be specific in reaching out” because “demographics are changing,” and thus the practice of reaching out must also change.

“You’re gonna have to know about culture,” Poole tells students, because “no job exists in a vacuum.” 

Not only are students encouraged to learn about culture, but those involved are also passionate about students appreciating their cultures.

“We want Western to be a very diverse place,” Basham said.

Franklin Serrano,  Greenwood High School teacher, shared that students are “pushing to see their culture represented,” including throughout Hispanic Heritage Month as well as the remainder of the year.

Some students in attendance on Wednesday were provided with guidance and experience they may not receive at home, whether due to concerns regarding language barriers or being a first generation student as expressed by students, or due to other various factors. 

Graves hopes that the event helped students from being overwhelmed with the process. The event generated positive feedback from the high schoolers and those on campus. This was the fourth year it took place, and those involved are optimistic they will continue reaching students with events such as the Hispanic VIP day.

News reporter Lindsey Coates can be reached at [email protected].

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