By Nicholas Brenn
On Monday, Jason Benitez joined campus as the new Director of Multicultural Affairs.
As the former Coordinator of both Multicultural Affairs and the Educational Opportunity Program at Schenectady County Community College, Benitez hopes to establish himself as a determined leader and a strong advocate for the awareness and advancement of campus diversity initiatives at Union.
Benitez was selected largely based on feedback gathered by a group consisting of students Danielle Steinmetz ‘12, Amin Meyghani ‘13 and Elite Williams ‘13.
This group looked for a candidate who would be able to develop a strong relationship with the student body.
“Jason received much praise for his ability to relate to the students,” said Senior Director of Campus Diversity and Affirmative Action at Union College Gretchel Hathaway. “I am excited for Jason to implement initiatives that engage the student body on aspects of diversity while serving to teach students about one another.”
Interfaith learning and understanding is the campus diversity theme for this school year, and Hathaway believes that “it is important for students to learn about the faiths of their peers and appreciate the vast array of cultures that exist at Union.”
The Office of Multicultural Affairs deals not only with race and religion on campus, but is also involved with gender relations. Benitez brings a strong understanding of gender interaction as it relates to the male psyche.
“Jason has experience developing leadership skills among young males, and I hope he can work alongside the fraternities on campus in developing strong, male leaders,” Hathaway said.
In addition to being named one of the top 40 rising Latino stars under 40 by the Hispanic Coalition of New York, Benitez has participated in a number of discussions related to the development of underrepresented students and the maturation of male youths.