College of Southern Idaho is the first designated Hispanic Serving Institution in the state

College of Southern Idaho is the first designated Hispanic Serving Institution in the state
Published: Sep. 15, 2022 at 10:51 PM MDT
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TWIN FALLS, Idaho (KMVT/KSVT) — Thursday is the start of Hispanic Heritage Month across the world, and right here in the Magic Valley, the College of Southern Idaho is making strides by being the first Hispanic Serving Institution in the state.

“25% of our undergraduate degree-seeking students are from a Hispanic background,” said Monze Stark the assistant dean of enrollment services at CSI.

Stark, who was a first-generation college student says, the designation opens doors for these students.

“Not only that they belong to our community, but to our institution, it also allows them to have a seat at the table while making decisions, it also allows them to think about our future and who else is going to benefit from some of the opportunities or even decision making that we make at College of Southern Idaho,” said Stark.

While this designation opens up more grant opportunities for the college, what it does for the students is why the college sought to become one.

“It means everything to me because I’m first generation, so I want to make a big impact on my siblings as well and show them that hey you can go to college too and do what you want to do with your life,” said Alejandra Melendres, a sophomore.

And for another student, Vianey Gutierrez, a sophomore, she says she feels like she belongs on campus, and her goals are attainable.

“You want to obviously feel welcome and feel accomplished, especially if you are a first generation, and want to show your family that you can do and also yourself, and just believe in yourself, so it’s great that we have this, so we can build from this, and have other Hispanics feel welcome and know that they can do it too,” said Gutierrez.