Representing one step in a continuous quest to embrace diversity and support efforts that increase Hispanic access to education, Azusa Pacific recently joined the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU) as an associate member. HACU, founded in 1986, champions Hispanic success in higher education and is the only national educational organization representing Hispanic-serving institutions.
Last spring, student and former president of the Latin American Student Association Jonathan Garcia ’11 brought a proposal to university leaders to join HACU, marking the beginning of APU’s membership process. “Students expressed to me their desire to be represented in all aspects of the university,” said Garcia. “As the largest minority group on campus, it is important that the Latino/a community feel included in both political and academic processes on campus. Joining HACU gives APU students the opportunity to become better scholars and engaged participants in our growing and diverse nation.”
“Membership in this organization supports the goal for our student body to reflect the image of Christ as well as the demographic of our community,” said Kimberly B.W. Denu, Ph.D., vice provost for undergraduate programs. “Reaching out across racial and ethnic lines models and exemplifies our Christian heritage.”
HACU membership includes advocacy representation on behalf of Hispanic education; access to grants, internships, scholarships, and leadership opportunities for students attending member institutions; discounts to HACU conferences; and faculty and staff development opportunities. “Being a HACU member benefits all students and faculty,” said Denu. “Membership is inclusive and provides opportunities for additional funding.”
More than 400 colleges and universities in the U.S., Puerto Rico, Latin America, Spain, and Portugal comprise HACU’s total membership, contributing to its reputation as the top Hispanic nonprofit support for access to higher education. HACU’s advocacy efforts with the federal government have led to more than $1.2 billion in grants targeted to member institutions since 1995.