By Sapphire Gallegos

Dr. Keith Barnes, Executive Director of Diversity and Inclusion, spoke with students and staff on Friday at the Centennial Campus, urging the community to come together to make PPCC a Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI).

HSI’s provide supportive grants to create more educational opportunities for Hispanic students.

During the hour and a half presentation, Dr. Barnes addressed some key goals the college would like to fulfill for Hispanic students in the future.

That effort was fueled by the college administration’s recent strategic plan,  Destination 2022,  which called for more diversity and inspired the formation of a Hispanic Advisory Board. That board was charged with improving the enrollment and recruitment of Hispanic identifying students. Currently, 16% of the student population of PPCC identifies as Hispanic.

Barnes said that while Pikes Peak Community College does not fulfill the total Hispanic enrollment requirement of 25% needed to become an HSI, the institution can become an HACU affiliate member for a limited membership fee.

However, PPCC still has a chance to grow into an HSI institution. While numbers of Hispanic enrollment continue to rise at PPCC, Barnes hopes that the school can eventually join other Hispanic serving institutions to support the higher education success of students.  

If the mission is accomplished, Pikes Peak Community College would be spending, “between 9 and $10,000 a year” Barnes states. By getting the proper resources and support needed, this association would help recognize and address Hispanic students’ needs.

Barnes would like to work with the leadership council to maintain this mission, even if it takes a while. He said if the college eventually serves 25% Hispanic students, the HSI designation would provide additional funding for the college.

“We would be stupid not to do it,” he said.

Barnes concluded his presentation, saying that students and staff should make an effort to join the Hispanic Advisory Board in working together to reach HSI status.

With more voices on the committee, the college has a better chance of fulfilling the Destination 2022 plan.