¡Éxito! Initiative Promotes Success
Portland State University President Wim Wiewel has launched a new initiative to recruit, support and graduate more Latino students. The program is called “¡Éxito!” or “success” in Spanish.
Latinos make up 20 percent of students in Oregon’s public schools, but just 5 percent, or 1,236 students from PSU’s student body. Though they are the fastest growing population in Oregon, Latinos are the most underrepresented group at PSU, relative to their numbers statewide.
The ¡Éxito! initiative is estimated to cost $350,000 with monies coming from University funding, the PSU Foundation and private funds. The long-term goal is providing full tuition support to 100 undergraduate and 25 graduate Latino students.
“This program is cutting edge, and it is exactly what we need right now,” said Mayor Sam Adams, who accompanied Wiewel in announcing ¡Éxito!’s launch. “Right now we are failing whole swaths of our citizenry, whole swaths of our youth, and nowhere is it more disturbing than in the Latino community.”
The program is a result of a campus task force to bring more Latino students to the PSU campus and provide more support to help them graduate. Recommendations implemented this year include a new Casa Latina center, a target to double the number of Latino faculty and staff, and new recruitment and advising programs. The program is also working with the Alumni Association and Career Center to offer more internships, mentors, graduate school workshops, and post-graduation support to Latino students.