Culture / News / Student Life

Hunter College, a Leading Hispanic Institution

For the 14th time in the last 16 years, Hunter College has been named a Fulbright Top Producing Institution by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. The institution was also commended by the State Department for being a Leading Hispanic-Serving Institution by the State Department. 

“Hunter College exemplifies a deep commitment to international exchange and to building lasting connections between the people of the United States and the people of other countries,” said Secretary of State Antony Blinken. 

President Ann Kirschner received a letter in October written by Blinken. The secretary of state reached out to congratulate the institution on being named one of 46 Hispanic-Serving Institutions. This praise was received due to the success of their flagship international educational exchange program, otherwise known as the Fulbright student program.

Hunter College students that interned with T​he Center for Puerto Rican Studies. The interns conducted research to help aid Puerto Rico after the destruction of Hurricane Maria. 

Hunter’s diversity is not only applauded by Blinken but by students as well. When asked about Hispanic representation there was a consensus of agreement amongst the students. A senior named Anued Naeves said, “Being a Hispanic student at Hunter I feel comfortable and safe on campus. I often see other Latinos and Hispanics on campus which makes me feel welcomed.” 

Naeves shared that before Hunter College they attended a predominantly white high school. In this high school, they had endured racism from staff members and felt isolated from their peers. Naeves also mentioned that their classmates were uneducated about Latino culture, so they were often ridiculed.

A junior named Rebecca Luiz stated that she was thankful for Hunter College because she was able to meet her two Latina best friends. Luiz also attended a predominantly white high school and said, “It destroyed my self-identity. I’m a white-passing Hispanic with curly hair and I often abandoned my roots to fit in with my classmates.” 

The student mentioned that she caused heat damage to her hair by straightening it every morning, laughed at discriminative jokes towards her people, and was embarrassed by her parents’ Colombian accent. Finding Hispanic friends helped her reconnect with their identity and culture. She said that she also felt happy to converse in her native tongue outside of home.

Angelina Silva a foreign exchange student from Brazil, revealed that Hunter’s diversity saved her from the despair of feeling homesick. Silva states that the transition from leaving her family and home to now living in the United States has been rough. She says that there is a huge difference in culture, and it wasn’t long before she missed her home. After a few months of attending Hunter, her unhappiness faded because she found her family. She connected with other Hispanic foreign exchange students, and they shared the hardships of leaving home. This sense of community made Silva feel less alone and more excited about her education. The student revealed that her new friends reminded her of how life was in high school.

Silva also shared that besides feeling homesick she was slightly embarrassed about her English. Although she knew the language, she said that her Brazilian accent separated her from the rest of her classmates. After making other Hispanic friends with accents, she cared less about this difference. She said that she even gained the confidence to frequently participate in class discussions. 

The Hunter College Undergraduate Student Government (USG) is democratically run by its undergraduate students. It aims to protect national and international affairs, student’s rights, welfare and encourage involvement. 

Rebecca Perez, a freshman majoring in biology said, “Hunter’s diversity caused my transition from high school to college to be smoother than I imagined.” Perez lives in a Hispanic neighborhood in the Bronx and has attended school with a large Hispanic student body her entire life. She says that she was nervous about attending Hunter because she thought she would lose her sense of community. “I thought I would be on my own because I might not be able to relate to other students,” said Perez. 

The freshman’s anxiety subsided when she joined the Latino Medical Student Association  Perez shared that this organization allowed her to connect with others who shared her culture and professional goals. The club introduced a community that not only understands her culturally but could also potentially advance her career. 

Although Blinken honors Hunter he also wishes for the college to expand the Fulbright program by engaging in short- and long-term opportunities for faculty, students, and administrators. To encourage diversity, Blinken plans to send resources to Hunter’s communications office and Fulbright Program stakeholders on campus. “I love the Fulbright Program because it supports changemakers and fosters global cooperation. Fulbrighters make the world a better place in classrooms and countries worldwide,” Blinken said.



Comments are closed.