The Hispanic population of this year’s freshman class grew by about 20 percent this year, part of an overall increase in the number of multicultural students.
Kathryn Napper, director of Undergraduate Admissions, wrote in an e-mail that she expects about 120 Hispanic students to be in this year’s freshman class. Official demographic numbers for incoming students will be released next month.
Napper said there was an increase in the number of applications received and accepted from all multicultural groups, which GW defines as black, Asian American, Hispanic and Native American students.
She attributed the increase to “more academically qualified students completing their applications for admission.”
Michael Trask, the Latino outreach coordinator for the Multicultural Student Services Center, said he is pleased with the number of Hispanic and black students in the freshman class
“The numbers for African American and Latino students have gone up, which is definitely a positive thing,” he said. “I have seen more Latinos in the freshman class. This is really the effort of Admissions. They have really taken into consideration first-generation students.”
Some student organizations have also made efforts to recruit more multicultural students. Members of the Organization of Latino American Students have formed student panels for multicultural high school students who visit GW. The panels answer questions about on-campus organizations and student life.
“One of our goals is to continue to improve diversity – geographically, ethnically and programmatically,” Napper said, adding that OLAS has helped in “creating a thriving Latino community at GW.”
Natalia Molano, president of OLAS, said the organization made efforts to reach out to minority students at Colonial Inauguration.
“We did tabling, and I noticed a lot more Hispanic students this year that agreed to go to GW,” Molano said. “I was really happy at CI to see all of these students. They were also happy to see our table.”
Molano added that this year’s first general body meeting for OLAS received the largest turnout – between 70 and 75 students – in its history.
The MSSC has also been working with the admissions office to strengthen the multicultural community on campus.
Trask said the admissions office formed SMART, the Student Multicultural Admissions Recruitment Team, to help recruit minority students. The two-year-old group is comprised of campus tour guides and the Student Network Admissions Program, which provides overnight student hosts.
Trask described SMART as “a hybrid of the two, geared towards multicultural students.” SMART members give tours for prospective students and provide a student panel to answer questions. Prospective students can stay with hosts in residence halls and attend classes.
From Sept. 15 to Oct. 15, GW is participating in the Latino Heritage Celebration. On Sept. 24, political cartoonist Lalo Alcaraz delivered the keynote address at an OLAS event.