ALAMOSA – The Adams State University Cultural Awareness and Student Achievement (CASA) Center recently sent five students and two staff members to the annual Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU) Conference. HACU’s Annual Conference provides a unique forum for the sharing of information and ideas for the best and most promising practices in the education of Hispanics.
Beneranda Chacon, Student Business Services Perkins loan officer, and Oneyda Maestas, CASA coordinator, accompanied Adams State students Vince Alcon, Andrea Casillas, Erika Ibarra-Garibay, Marissa Morgan, and Andrew Rascon.
The CASA Center hosts fundraisers to help finance the travel and registration fees. “We have taken students to the HACU Conference every year, since 2010,” Maestas said. “The conference educates our students to become leaders and provides them opportunities to network with professionals from around the world.”
A senior majoring in graphic design, Rascon met students from across the country and received helpful guidance from professionals. “HACU inspired me to look more into internships that are aimed towards my degree plan.”
The students who attend the HACU conference implement leadership projects at Adams State. “The students, using the knowledge gained at HACU, fill out an action plan and complete their project from beginning to end,” Maestas said. The students must complete 50 hours toward a project that impact themselves as leaders at the CASA Center or other campus departments, or in the community. “We work diligently with professors on collaborative projects so students have an opportunity to complete credit hours yet produce a project that has wider impact.”
For his project, Rascon chose to make a video about the Adams State CASA Center’s history. It will feature CASA students and alumni, faculty, volunteers, community organizations, and other supporters. “It will be CASA’s new media resource and will serve as a recruiting and retention tool,” Maestas added.
The Adams State CASA Center provides support for all students. “CASA has helped me pursue my goals by allowing me to work on cultural projects for graphic design skills and learn of new cultures,” Rascon said. “It has also helped me branch out from my comfort zone and communicate with people.”
According to Maestas, all students who have attended HACU Conferences have graduated with an associate’s, bachelor’s or master’s degree or are still currently enrolled and all have lucrative job placements. For more information on HACU visit hacu.net.
Caption: From left, Beneranda Chacon, Andrea Casillas, Andrew Rascon, Antonio R. Flores, Ph.D president of HACU; Vince Alcon, Marissa Morgan, Erika Ibarra-Garibay, and Oneyda Maestas attend the 31st Annual HACU Conference in San Diego. Courtesy photo