The Latin American Student Association and the Hispanic Serving Institution celebrate the one year anniversary of the Title V Grant that was given to Azusa Pacific University.

Last October, Azusa Pacific University was awarded the Title V Grant, a federal grant that is given to colleges and universities that are designated as Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSI). Since APU has over 25% Latino students, the university qualified for the grant.

Dr. Richard S. Martinez, program manager of HSI Title V Grant, is proud of the resources that have been poured into due to the grant. 

“If you go into the writing center you’ll see new tables and chairs. The grant also funds the Writing Center and the Learning Assistants who work alongside faculty and assist students. Additionally, the grant funds the academic success coaches who work closely with our students. The grant also funds Stellic, a program that is used by both students and academic success coaches,” said Martinez.

Martinez’s next step with the grant is to implement culturally relevant curriculum series for faculty, improvement on general education courses and first-year seminars.

Jocelyn Brambila, president of Latin American Student Association (LASA), has been working with Martinez to promote the grant through events and meetings. “The Title V office has been very helpful in cultivating student belonging, especially the Latino community…Now we need to get the word out about the grant and what it means for students,” said Brambila.

While this is a huge accomplishment for APU and its Latino and first-gen community, Brambila and Martinez both emphasized that this grant will help all students. “The great aspect about the money is that it’s for all students. There’s no student that’s excluded from these services,” said Martinez.

“It’s not just for Latino students. It’s being used to help all students on campus. Because of that we need to be more aware, more accepting and more understanding of all the Latino cultures on campus and celebrate that” added Brambila.  

Although it has been one year of having the grant, many students were unaware of the impact it had on campus. On the morning of Oct. 13, HSI and LASA hosted a celebration on cougar walk to shine a light on the grant.

At the celebration, Martinez and Brambila spoke of their gratitude for the grant and its impact on students along with special guest speakers. 

APU President Adam Morris prayed over the grant and APU students, Azusa Mayor Robert Gonzales reaffirmed that the city stands with APU, SGA President Brady Compaan and Brambila read the University Passage (Romans 12) in both English and Spanish, Associate Dean Aaron Hinojosa congratulated APU for being an HSI and Reverend Rebekah A. Rossi Loufik prayed a special blessing in Spanish and English. 

Following the speeches, students were treated to a nacho bar and mariachi band Alma De Tierra performed for the rest of the celebration. 

Recognition of APU’s latino community won’t stop there. LASA will continue to have meetings and workshops to teach students about how to take advantage of the grant. Martinez will also guest speak for these events.