The Daily Tar Heel

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Monday December 5th

UNC sees increase in enrollment of Latino students

During the last 10 years, the number of Latino students at UNC has increased dramatically, a representation of the University’s efforts to grow the presence of minority populations on campus.

In fall 2001, just 280 Hispanic undergraduates were enrolled. This fall, 1,688 Latino undergraduates enrolled at UNC.

Efforts by the University to increase the number of Latino students include the Latina/o Recruitment Weekend held on Oct. 14-15, an annual event offering Latino high school seniors an opportunity to learn about UNC.

The University commemorates National Hispanic Heritage Month from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15.

Terri Houston, interim director of the Office of Diversity and Multicultural Affairs, said the increase in the University’s Hispanic population is not just a product of larger demographic trends.

Houston said it was one of the strategic goals of the Office of Diversity and Multicultural Affairs to improve the presence of racial minorities on campus, creating a diverse and inclusive community fitting for a modern university.

Ashley Memory, assistant director of admissions, said although the growing number of Latino students is largely due to more high school Latino applicants, the number of Hispanic transfer students has also increased.

“We’re very grateful for the increased interest in Carolina, but we would like to see these numbers continue to climb,” Memory said.

This growth reflects a national increase in Hispanic college enrollment. According to a study conducted by the Pew Research Center, college enrollment for Hispanics ages 18 to 24 increased by 24 percent in 2010.

Memory said the presence of students from diverse racial, cultural and geographic backgrounds enhances the community for everyone.

For National Hispanic Heritage Month, the Carolina Latina/o Collaborative has organized daily events to recognize the contributions of Latinos on campus.

Films, lectures, panel discussions, comedy and a carnival will be parts of the celebration.

Josmell Perez, director of the Carolina Latina/o Collaborative, said a variety of student groups will be involved, bringing the campus closer together.

“Our mission is to explore collaborative relations across campus and build those relationships as they relate to Latinos,” said Perez.

Perez said the increased number of Hispanic students at UNC would strengthen the Latino community, making UNC a more welcoming place for people of all backgrounds.

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