Among those in attendance at the festival were Jose Enriquez, right, of Latinos in Action and Yudi Lewis from the Latino Initiative. Agustin Diaz/UVU Review

Change in the multicultural lens of UVU comes subtly but can enter loudly upon arrival, and UVU’s Multicultural Center is looking to make it welcomed and positive.

A partnership created by the UVU Latino Initiative and Latinos in Action, a program founded by Mountview vice principal Jose Enriques, seeks and labors to prepare young Latinos for a future that will desperately need them.

According to the UVU Fact Book for 2009-2010, we will soon house a population of 2,000 Latino students and have a current enrollment of 3,125 multicultural students annually.

The numbers are expected to rise; therefore, the university has already shown a tremendous amount of support for the joining of the two programs.

Nevertheless, continued reinforcement and, particularly, funding will serve in the best interest of UVU.

A growing landscape of multicultural influence and presence, not only within the university but globally as well, are proof of demand for similar programs.

Data collected by the University of California in 2002 show a 58 percent increase in the Hispanic population of the United States from the 90s to the year 2000.

They predict that by 2050, Latino youth will make up 29 percent or more of the nation’s youth total, making them the fastest growing underrepresented minority in the United States.

Considering these statistics, Arlene Dohm, a researcher in gauging the effects on society of retiring baby-boomers writes, “As aging baby-boomers begin retiring, the effects on the overall economy…will be substantial, creating a need for younger workers to fill vacated jobs.”

Members of the partnership between UVU Latino Initiative and Latinos in Action not only aim to curb negative social views of Latinos, but also promote education and career-building skills to fill the gap that would be created by a diversifying nation and retiring generation.

Jose Enrique was able to take some time away from his stand at the Latino Americano Festival in Provo on Saturday, Sept. 8, and explain the opportunities that the partnership with UVU can present for the community.

“We want our Latino youth to recognize the potential they have,” says Enrique, “Latinos in Action creates a vehicle to navigate the system and become role models, mentors and tutors.”

Marcelina Zamora, a UVU recruiter for prospective Hispanic students and founder of the Unidos Saldremos Adelante (Unite We Move Forward) Leadership Program, adds her testimony to the ongoing support from the university towards the partnership.
She also encourages students to take responsibility and act so that UVU recognizes the importance of the issue.

“Hispanic students are all over UVU and we strive to unite them to build that center of community within the Multicultural Center.”

While the future remains an anonymous figure, it hints towards a range of opportunity, which our nation must be ready to pass on to the next generation of young adults.

That next age bracket will consist of a consistently expanding amount of diverse students, and the Latino Initiative program is a small but impressionable step for UVU’s commitment to a surge of diversity.

President Holland noticed the promise that the initiative program held and even announced that “an initiative to do more to help the Native American population along lines similar to the Latino Initiative will be a big push this year. I’m excited about where we will head with this.”