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Two Students Write About Their Experience at National Conference

October 21, 2008


An Opportunity

By Henoc M. Preciado, junior English major

Cal State Fullerton President Milton A. Gordon meets with the campus student ambassadors at the HACU conference. Pictured, from left, are Christine Hernandez, Carlos Reyes, Henoc M. Preciado, Carolina Lepe, Gordon, Karla Rios, Everardo Acosta, Josué Guaderrama and Ruby Flores. Not pictured are Claudia Rodriguez, Evelyn Soqui and Michele Gomez. Photo by Mimi Ko Cruz

The 22nd annual Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities conference in Denver Oct. 10-13 was a great experience.

By being given the opportunity to represent Cal State Fullerton at this event, I was able to become much more aware of issues that Latino students face not only on a local level, but on a national level as well.

I feel that there was an instant connection with the other CSUF students who attended, and I know that today I am able to call each one of them a friend. I was especially thankful for the meals that we shared because they were moments when we were able to get to know each other better and understand our backgrounds that make us who we are.

One of the highlights, in my opinion, was the Town Hall Meeting held on the last day of the conference. At this event, representatives from the Obama and McCain campaigns sat on a panel, discussing with HACU's president and CEO Antonio Flores, and our very own president, Milton A. Gordon. This event allowed me to understand more of the issues affecting the education of Latinos, and I became more informed about the two U.S. presidential candidates and their respective goals to improve Latinos' education. I also was very thankful for minutes in my busy schedule when I was able to talk and get to know our CSUF faculty and staff — people who understand the struggles of Latino students, and who are in positions where they can each help to improve all students’ education.

Building Bridges

By Christine Hernandez, senior English major

The Hispanic Association of College and Universities conference was an eye-opening experience.

When I applied to be one of the student ambassadors for Cal State Fullerton, I did some research on HACU but it took being there at the conference to understand how important and how big HACU really is.

Aside from one person from the student group, I didn't know the other students. Yet, by the time the conference ended, I feel like our group became a familia.

On the first day, we were introduced to the conference team who put together the student track and learned about different topics, like résumé building and career exploration. After the student track workshops, we had a chance to hear about the state of HACU. That's when I first realized the importance of HACU and what is its mission.

On the second day of the conference at the Denver Convention Center, I sat in on a few professional workshops. One of my biggest goals from this conference was to learn more about higher education and the Latino community. I went to a two-part workshop called "Increasing Success for Hispanic College Students," where I had the chance to meet the dean of students from a university in Colorado who was sitting next to me.

My biggest moment of Titan pride came after hearing President Milton A. Gordon speak at the partnership lunch as the newly elected chairman of the HACU governing board. Between the workshops, the networking opportunities, the adventures with my student ambassador group around downtown Denver and the rest of the time in the Mile High City, the 2008 HACU Conference has been a unique, once-in-a-lifetime experience.


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