Underrepresented students ‘Get to Know’ Union

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By Ryan Semerad

On Saturday, Oct. 9 and Sunday, Oct. 10, Union hosted upwards of 50 students from historically underrepresented populations on campus in the Admissions Office’s ‘Getting to Know U’ weekend.

The prospective students came from a variety of geographic locations including Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, California, Illinois, Texas, and Wisconsin. For many students and their families, this was the first time they ever stepped onto Union’s campus, making the weekend especially important for multicultural recruitment and diversification of the institution as a whole.

“The weekend is intended to give students who are historically underrepresented on campuses like Union, a full understanding of the Union experience,” Vice President for Admissions Matthew Malatesta said.

Through the efforts of administrators such as Senior Director of Campus Diversity Gretchel Hathaway, Director of Multicultural Affairs Karen Ferrer-Muniz, current students, and alumni, Union has become an “increasingly attractive option” for a diverse range of students with “more than 20% of [the past two incoming classes] consisting of domestic students of color and international students,” Malatesta said. “We hope to show these prospective students that this is a good time to be at Union.”

[pullquote]“We hope to show these prospective students that this is a good time to be at Union.”Matthew Malatesta, Vice President of Admissions[/pullquote]

The weekend’s program was organized by Delon McAllister ‘07, Director of Multicultural Recruitment. It included faculty panels, question and answer sessions with current students, a scavenger hunt, dinner with alumni, and free time to explore the campus, as well as time to do homework.

The comprehensive program was designed to permit these prospective students to participate in the Columbus Day Open House program.

The weekend and Open House are vital to Union’s application numbers, which were groundbreaking last year. While these statistics are impressive, they fail to tell the whole story.

Union’s yield on Regular Decision admitted students was down for the Class of 2014 compared with the figures from the previous year. The Admissions Office is continuing to work hard to improve Union’s status compared to the other elite liberal arts colleges from which admitted students have to choose; events such as the ‘Getting to Know U’ weekend and the Open House aim to set Union apart as a campus community.

This is not to take away from the great strides Union has made over the past few years to become a more enticing option for many high school seniors across the country. Last year’s numbers were indeed exceptional and the numbers from events such as the ‘Getting to Know U” weekend and the Columbus Day Open House suggest that this year could be similar.

However, the credit for Union’s increasing appeal is not entirely due to administrative verve—“great thanks go to our ambassadors for the Getting to Know U weekend and our many tour guides and volunteers who help throughout the open house process,” Malatesta said.

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