UHCL reaches milestone as Hispanic-Serving Institution, celebrates Hispanic identity

September 11, 2020 | UHCL Staff

UHCL reaches milestone as Hispanic Serving Institution, celebrates Hispanic identity

The University of Houston-Clear Lake continues its mission to excel in enrolling, educating and graduating Latinx students. In this year’s Hispanic Heritage Month events, taking place both virtually and in-person between Tuesday, Sept. 15 and Thursday, Oct. 15, we reaffirm our pride in our 10th anniversary as a designated Hispanic-Serving Institution (HSI). As of spring 2020, nearly 37% of our student population identifies as Hispanic — and that number is expected to grow.

Celebrate with Us | Celebra con nosotros

Embark on a month-long journey through the Hispanic culture by participating in events planned by the Latina/o and Latin American Studies (LLAS) program, the Office of Student Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, the Bayou Theater and the Art Gallery.

Some highlights from the Hispanic Heritage Month celebration include a self-guided art tour, discussion on Latinas in aviation and a virtual cooking demonstration.

Associate Professor of Psychology and Director of the LLAS program Desdamona Rios said that as the university commemorates its status as an HSI, the key word is “serving.”

“One way we are better serving our students is to simply slow down and listen more,” Rios said. “Our student representatives have told us that in order to enact real change, we need to pay closer attention to their issues instead of rushing to find solutions. As we slow down and take the time to actively listen, we are improving our students’ perception that we are indeed serving them.”

Celebrating Our Diversity | Celebrando nuestra diversidad 

SDEI Director Aliya Beavers says the celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month comes from every part of the university. “Student diversity is in our title, but when all parts of the university take on initiatives and programming, it communicates to the student body that affirming diversity is work that can be done across the board.”

When students are comfortable, feel safe, and can express themselves, it makes a difference in the way a space feels. “Representation alone isn’t enough,” said SDEI’s Coordinator of Diversity Programs Aja Rodriguez. “Representation in addition to celebration, acceptance and support in the student population is what makes the difference, and that’s what we’re trying to do.”

Building Tradition | Creando tradición 

UH-Clear Lake is a vibrant part of serving Houston’s diverse population, which includes nearly 45% of people identifying Hispanic or Latino. “We are committed to inclusion and diversity,” said Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer/Title IX Coordinator Scott Richardson. “We want to keep doing what it takes to maintain our HSI designation and continue to build on our tradition…not rest on it.”

Learn more about Hispanic Heritage Month events online