Celebrating diversity on campus
Cultural and ethnic diversity makes colleges and universities, like Yakima Valley College, better places to learn. This diversity helps support innovation, growth and success on our campuses. Recognizing these efforts, YVC has been designated as a Hispanic Serving Institution by the U.S. Department of Education since 2002. This fall, YVC continued the tradition of celebrating our diversity campus community.
Hispanic Heritage Month
From mid-September through mid-October, YVC recognized the achievements and contributions of Hispanic American students as well as faculty and staff as part of National Hispanic Heritage Month. This year’s theme, “Unidos: Inclusivity for a Stronger Nation,” encouraged individuals to ensure that all voices are represented and welcomed to help build stronger communities and a stronger nation.
ASYVC Vice President Yadira Chavez said the theme conveyed that through working with others and hearing a greater variety of ideas and perspectives, one can complete projects more effectively.
She’s also excited to be part of student government this year and have an opportunity to help ensure that all voices on campus are represented in building a stronger campus community.
“My focus is to help individuals attend community college and find all the resources they will need to be a successful college student,” said Chavez. “Providing all the resources they will need to complete a degree or training program is something that definitely helps to build a stronger nation.”
Native American Heritage Month
In November YVC celebrated Native American Heritage Month, recognizing the rich and diverse cultures, traditions and histories of Native people and to acknowledge their important contributions.
During this year’s celebration month, ASYVC invited alumnus Penny Tahmalwash to host a special cultural presentation. Tahmalwash walked participants through the process of making native fry bread while sharing information about Indigenous People’s Day and what it means to be part of the Yakama Nation Tribe.
Residing on the traditional homelands of the 14 Confederated Tribes and Bands of the Yakama Nation, Yakima Valley College also honors the history of land in the Yakima Valley during the month.
YVC also shared its efforts to strengthen opportunities for students to explore social, political and cultural issues impacting Indigenous peoples across North America with the launch of multiple new courses including “Introduction to American Indian & Indigenous Studies,” “Native American History to 1815,” “Native American History since 1815” and “Contemporary Issues of Native Nations.”
First Generation Month
With more than 80% of YVC students being the first in their family to attend college, the college honored these essential members of the campus community during the November celebration. YVC joined colleges and universities across the nation in the National First-Generation College Celebration. Led by the Council for Opportunity in Education (COE) and the NASPA Center for First-Generation Student Success, this event celebrates the success of first-generation college students, faculty, staff and alumni and raises awareness of the support necessary for this important and resilient population to continue thriving.
Sharing first-generation student experiences and outcomes is critical to helping students navigate the college environment and find success. It also helps us better understand the systemic barriers plaguing higher education and the supports necessary for this important and resilient population to continue thriving.