Established at Utah Valley University during Fall 2007, the Latino Initiative helps Latina/o students achieve educational success by providing direct student services to help Latina/o students along the PK-16 educational pathway. They do this by engaging parents, families, and the community through specific programs including a summer bridge program, a USALO mentorship program between Utah Valley University and K-12 students, funding support from the Latino Scholarship Fund, on- and off-campus Latino parent open houses, and the Latin American Celebration. The Latino Initiative program also advocates for educational policy and institutional practice changes that govern how Latina/o students experience education.
The Latino Initiative’s core goals and objectives are to engage students, parents, educators, and community leaders in a movement (through dialogue, activities, and services) that provides college access information, opportunities, and resources for Latina/o youth and their families. They want to increase the number of Latina/o students who enroll in and graduate from Utah Valley University and assist local schools in preparing Latino students academically and socially for post-secondary education.
· Over the last eight years, the Latino Initiative has helped increase Utah Valley University’s Latino student enrollment by 194%, with 3,134 students enrolling in Fall 2014.
· In the last five years, Utah Valley University has seen an increase in Latino graduates of 118%.
· The Latino Initiative reaches out to approximately 6,000 - 7,000 Latino students and their parents per year.
· Since 2008, over 600 Latino high school juniors and seniors earn up to six college credits at no cost to the student for participating in the Latino Educators of Tomorrow, Latino Scientists, Math, English, Hospitality Management, Computer Science, Political Science, and Wasatch Prep College summer bridge programs.
The Latino Initiative hosts other services and events such as the annual Celebración Latino Americana, where Latino students who are receiving scholarships through the program are recognized and the Latino Parent Open House held on their campuses and in schools around the region.