Andrews University Becomes a Hispanic-Serving Institution

It is the first and only school in the state of Michigan to receive such designation.

Sara Hamstra, Andrews University
Andrews University Becomes a Hispanic-Serving Institution
Students attend a recent Andrews University Latino Association graduation recognition and stole ceremony. [Photo: Jessica Condon]

Andrews University in Berrien Springs, Michigan, United States, was recently designated as a Hispanic-Serving Institution by the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU). Andrews is the first and currently the only school in the state of Michigan to receive such a designation.

In addition to recognizing its support and appreciation for the Hispanic students on campus, being a Hispanic-Serving Institution provides Andrews with opportunities to further serve Hispanic students in higher education. It enables the university to apply for grants that can be utilized to increase accessibility to education and support Hispanic students throughout their college careers. The HACU also offers external scholarships, advancement programs, internships, and other forms of support to Hispanic students across the country.

“Being an HACU member opens doors for undergraduate and graduate summer internships with the federal government in museums, parks, Senate, Congress, the Internal Revenue Service, immigration, and many more,” Pedro Navia, chair of the Department of International Languages & Global Studies, said. “Hispanic students from all majors can apply and participate.” The designation can also benefit faculty members doing research or community projects within the Hispanic community.

Navia, who also serves as the sponsor for the Andrews University Latino Association (AULA), headed the application process for this designation. “The HACU used our fall semester numbers for Hispanics enrolled at both undergraduate and graduate levels, which were 24–25 percent, with a steady pattern of continued growth,” he said.

As Andrews continues to hold a ranking as one of the most ethnically diverse campuses in the US, it is important to recognize the diverse people groups that are represented on campus, both among students and employees, campus leaders noted. Recent graduate Brandon Alvarez, who served as president of the Andrews University Latino Association during the 2023–24 school year, expressed his appreciation for the numerous Hispanic student clubs and religious organizations found in the campus community, such as AULA, Makarios Ministry, and Genesis Fellowship. “It really opens up the doors for Hispanic students to get involved and celebrate their origins,” he shared.

In addition to clubs and organizations, the university offers several scholarships for students of Hispanic descent. Andrews also recognizes Hispanic Heritage Month, which falls between September 15 and October 15 each year. In 2023, the campus community celebrated Hispanic Heritage Month under the theme “Estamos Unidos,” meaning “We Are United.” Programming included church services, vespers services, educational courses, a night market, spirit week activities, and a Noche Latina program. Each event honored the diversity within the Andrews University community.

“Andrews has set up so much support for the Hispanic community that resides here,” said senior elementary education major Amanda Orosco, who is of Mexican and Dominican heritage. “From the undergraduate and graduate clubs to even the food served at the cafeteria, I feel my culture is represented on campus, and to me, that is so comforting. It helps me feel like this is a place that I belong.”

The original version of the story was posted by Andrews University.

Sara Hamstra, Andrews University