Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

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Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

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Welcome focuses on minority prospies

Student groups and admissions officers joined forces during Day at NU to provide a variety of programs and services for prospective students with minority backgrounds.

Prospies and their families were invited to an open house Monday at the Multicultural Center, where they could tour the facility and meet center employees.

“We want to welcome everyone and let prospective students and families know that there is a place trying to reflect and promote diversity on campus,” said Latino Outreach Coordinator Beatrice Figueroa, who works in the center. “Parents and students come in here and say they feel welcome.”

The open house capped off three days of programming for minority prospies. Before they got to campus, prospies could request that admissions officers find them hosts who shared their hometowns and ethnic backgrounds.

And Latino and African-American prospies came to campus a day before other prospies to attend information sessions in which cultural student groups discussed student life for NU minorities.

A talent showcase on Saturday night included gospel and step performances, and many prospies also attended Saturday’s Marcus Marinho Comedy Beatdown at Ryan Family Auditorium.

Administrators said coming a day early gives minority prospies a broader perspective of NU student life.

“The entire Saturday preview was very successful and well-attended,” said Melda Potts, African-American outreach coordinator. “It was a good opportunity for incoming students to see the social side of black student life as well as the academic side.”

Added Figueroa: “It gives them an extra chance to get a feel for the campus and interact with other students of color.”

NU also held separate receptions Sunday for African-American, Latino and Asian-American families.

Organizers said the receptions’ laid-back atmosphere encouraged families to ask questions.

“The whole thing was very informal,” said Sri Parthasarathy, who represented the South Asian Students Alliance at the Asian-American reception. “Most of the time we weren’t even talking about minority issues. We spent most of the time talking about campus food, the dorms and social life.”

Parthasarathy, a Weinberg freshman, said the only problem was that campus tour times conflicted with the sessions, reducing the number of families that might have attended.

SASA president Purvi Shah said a strong minority community is important at colleges, where students often form their cultural identities.

“Sometimes issues of race and diversity really don’t come to light until (students) get to college,” said Shah, a Weinberg sophomore.

Some prospies said the extra efforts to recruit minorities succeeded in making them feel welcome at NU.

“When I stepped off the bus yesterday, I felt a lot of unease,” said Mike Blake, a prospie from the Bronx, New York. “But I see how strongly they’re trying to pull in African-American and Hispanic students here, and I recognize that and I respect that.”

Blake said he was impressed that the admissions office matched him with a host from the Bronx.

“They hooked me up with someone of my own ethnicity from my neighborhood, which I appreciate,” he said.

Other prospies said that minority concerns would not be a factor in choosing their college.

“If I wanted a Hispanic school, I’d go to Latin America,” said Alina Machado, a Cuban-American prospie from Miami. “When I look at a school, I don’t look at (minority outreach efforts). I don’t consider that at all.”

Machado, a prospective broadcast journalism major, said she felt overwhelmed by the attention paid to minority issues.

“I have my cultural identity, and I’m going to develop it by interacting with all sorts of people,” she said. “I like to get to know everyone. I don’t like to be isolated.”

Others said they were pleased with NU’s minority support networks.

“To realize that there is an active minority population on campus is reassuring,” said Ciare Thorn, a prospie from Cleveland. “Sometimes you’ll go to a campus and the minority population is inactive. Here, I can see the unity and connectedness.”

Thorn said NU was among the few colleges to back up their claims of being committed to minorities.

“A lot of colleges verbalize it but don’t actualize it,” she said. “(NU) makes it very clear how much they want us here.”

So will she enroll at NU?

“It’s looking nice,” she said, smiling.

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Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881
Welcome focuses on minority prospies