MEChA members visit Chicanx Park in San Diego. Photo courtesy of Paola Alvarado.
MEChA members visit Chicanx Park in San Diego. Photo courtesy of Paola Alvarado.

What do you think of UCSC being an Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI) designate?

“The title “Hispanic” is a bit problematic in my opinion because the administration tries to group us in just one big category. It’s problematic because it excludes any Latinxs who aren’t “Hispanic” such as indigenous Afro-Latinxs, Asian Latinxs, and others. UCSC being an HSI is an advancement for our community, although the title and the way it is being implemented is not ideal in my opinion. Students should have a bigger voice in the way this money is being spent because we are the ones experiencing the problems in the university, not the administrators. Students should also be informed on what the money is being used for because many of the “Hispanic” students have no idea our university is an HSI or that it gets funding from state and national grants.”

The number of admitted Chican@/Latin@ students to UCSC dropped by nearly 800 this year, and increased by about only 100 students UC-wide. What do you think of these statistics?

“These numbers are alarming. These numbers show us that as an organization that aids and yields Chicanx/Latinx students to get to higher education, we still have more work to do. In California, Chicanxs/Latinxs high school graduates are rising in numbers but a lot of them do not make it to higher education and that is a big problem. MEChA tries to outreach to our local Santa Cruz community and give students some resources that public schools don’t provide for them, but we think that this isn’t just a California problem, it is a national problem. We will continue to work with our community and hopefully one day we will have a better ratio between high school graduates and college graduates nationwide.”

What MEChA programming or activities are you excited about this year?

“We are really excited for our annual Oportunidades Rumbo A La Educacion (ORALE) program. This is a Student Initiated Outreach (SIO) program for Chicanx/Latinx high school seniors from all over California who have been admitted to the University of California. We work in collaboration with Engaging Education, Student Organization Advising and Resources, the African Black Student Alliance (A/BSA) and the Filipino Student Association (FSA) to put on an SIO weekend in which A/BSA puts on its Destination Higher Education and FSA puts on its A Step Forward program. Every year, this weekend is when all of our communities come together and it truly shows the solidarity between us as student organizers. This year MEChA is also going to work on developing a new outreach program for Chicanx/Latinx middle school students and parents in the Santa Cruz community. This first year, we will be focusing more on assessing the community’s needs in order to develop a more beneficial and fruitful program for them.”