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Panhandle State Observes Hispanic Serving Institutions Week

Panhandle State Communications on 09/17/2020

Oklahoma Panhandle State University observes Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSI) Week, September 14-20. OPSU was recognized in 2018 as an HSI and still serves as the first and only in Oklahoma.

OPSU is an institutional member of the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU). HACU recognizes 24 states that have an undergraduate enrollment of 10 percent or more Hispanics.

Enrollment of Hispanic students at OPSU has increased dramatically in the last decade, from a low of 17% of all students in 2010 to 27% of the student body today.

University President, Dr. Tim Faltyn stated “Our leadership team did not know that this week was dedicated to celebrating Hispanic Serving Institutions until HALO Co-President Cano shared it with Dr. Dinger at a Student Government Association Meeting. I wish we had known sooner, but now I’ve come to understand how much we all have to learn. As a campus community we all need to be more engaged and I’m looking forward to the recently awarded Title V HSI Grant providing us the resources we need to hire professionals to help us serve our students better.”

Yesse Cano, HALO Co-President, stated, “As a first-generation Hispanic woman in the STEM field, the oppression can be difficult to handle. But thankfully, I find a second home with the Hispanic Services on campus, and I know that falls true for many students. This is why, OPSU having the amazing title of the 1st and so far only Hispanic Serving Institute is so important to be put out there. Hispanic students need to know that they too can find a second home here and can come across help and numerous opportunities. As long as OPSU focuses on the “serving” part of HSI so many benefits can come to the students. This title gives Hispanic students on campus a platform to use our voices and hopefully be heard.”

“The Panhandle Family is proud to be Oklahoma’s first and only Hispanic Serving Institution, our Hispanic students are a critical part of what makes OPSU the best in our region.” Said Dr. Julie Dinger, Provost.

Stacy Jimenez, HALO Co-President commented, on the virtual events during HSI week. “With Hispanic Heritage Month also being in the same month as HSI week, we have converted our original plans into virtual events,” she continued, “Our virtual events include a book club, jalapeño eating contest, cultural fair, and so many other activities that are available to students. We are brainstorming new ideas to make Hispanic Heritage Month and HSI week fun while learning new things about HSI. We want to make sure that everyone stays healthy, but still enjoys our events even if they are virtual.”

“As Oklahoma's first and only HSI, we are proud of the work we have done to bring awareness and accessibility to our Hispanic community for higher education and look forward to providing continued opportunities through our membership with the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU),” Teri Mora continued, “As the HALO Sponsor and Director Hispanic Student Services and Director of Upward Bound it makes me proud every day to work with our future leaders and to guide them toward systemic change through community involvement, internships, and graduate studies.”