Basking in a recent report citing California State University, Fresno for “offering solid opportunities for Latino students,” the university prepares to present the 27th Annual Chicano Youth Conference this Saturday, Jan. 13.
Lydia Camarillo, past president of the Mexican American Legal Defense Fund who served as chief executive officer during this year’s Democratic National Convention, will deliver the keynote address at 9 a.m. in the North Gym.
Also expected to address the students is Santiago Woods, Fresno Unified School District superintendent.
More than 1,500 students from throughout California are expected to attend the conference, which is one of the oldest and largest of its kind in the state, according to its organizers, the student organization Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlán (MEChA).
This year’s theme is “Coming Together Through ‘Cultura and Resistencia’ Sparks Issues That Affect the Community.”
The conference will be from 7:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m., beginning with registration in the North Gym. The event is free, and all youth are invited to attend through their respective high schools.
The event exposes high school and community college students to university life and higher education opportunities, and is the second such effort at Fresno State in two weeks.
Last week, the university hosted the Hispanic Female Conference through the office of Dr. J. Michael Ortiz, provost and vice president for academic affairs, for teen-age Latinas from Kastner Intermediate School and Clovis West High School in Clovis.
These types of activities are one of the reasons Fresno State was one of 19 California State University campuses included among The Hispanic Outlook in Higher Education’s fifth annual “Publisher’s Picks,” a national list of colleges and universities that the publication views as offering solid opportunities for Hispanic students.
According to Hispanic Outlook, the institutions selected understand the importance of attracting, inspiring, and empowering Hispanic students, not only for the student’s well being, but also for the well being of the country.
Ortiz said conferences targeting Latinos is just an extension of the overall outreach effort of the university, and that the Chicano Youth Conference serves as an invitation to Latino students to seriously consider pursuing post-secondary education.
“Statistics show that Latinos are still among the lowest college going ethnic groups in the country,” he said. “By introducing them to our campus and our programs, along with the fact that almost a third of our student body is Latino, we hope to demonstrate that they can realize their career goals with a Fresno State education.”
He said the recognition in Hispanic Outlook in Higher Education and the university’s own data show that, “while we are not satisfied, we are being successful in this effort. If the percentage of Latino students attending Fresno State was compared to the number that we graduate, we would rank as one of the best in the country.”
Camarillo’s appearance on campus continues Fresno State’s tradition of bringing role models to the conference for the young participants.
She is the first Latino ever to hold a national political convention’s top post in either the Democratic or Republican party.
Camarillo has had a long career in community advocacy and organizing. Hispanic Business magazine in 1996 named her one of the “100 Most Influential Hispanics” in the nation.
Born in El Paso,Texas, Camarillo and her family moved to California during her senior year in high school. She eventually went on to study law at Hastings College in San Francisco.
After law school, Camarillo worked on antipoverty programs, including a stint at the Latino Issues Forum, a California-based organization chaired by former California Supreme Court Justice Cruz Reynoso. She later served as national director for MALDEF’s Leadership Development Program from 1989-1994.
In 1994, Camarillo joined the Southwest Voter Registration Project, which focuses on registering Latino voters. She eventually served as its executive director, leaving that post in the fall of 1999 to become the convention’s CEO.
During her tenure at Southwest Voter, Camarillo helped create and manage about 200 grassroots campaigns in 25 states involving an estimated 18,000 volunteers. About 1.4 million new Latino voters were registered as a result of the group’s nationwide efforts.
Joining Camarillo at the conference Saturday will be an army of professionals from the community, mostly Latino and spanning a wide range of careers. They will be on hand at more than 30 career and general interest workshops to provide the students with insights and advice about their respective careers, as well as to discuss issues facing the youth.
The workshops are held in the Family Food Science, McLane, Social Science and Psychology buildings.
A college fair featuring representatives from universities and colleges will be held in the South Gym. Entertainment will also be provided, followed by a dance featuring local DJs to conclude the daylong event.
For details, call University Outreach Services at (559) 278-2048.
California State University, Fresno MEChA
CHICANO YOUTH CONFERENCE
Saturday • Jan. 13, 2001
7:00-9:00 a.m. REGISTRATION NORTH GYM
9:00-9:15 a.m. WELCOME NORTH GYM
9:15-9:45 a.m. KEYNOTE — Lydia Camarillo NORTH GYM
GROUP A LOCATION
10:00-11:00 a.m. GENERAL INTEREST WORKSHOPS NORTH GYM
11:15-12:05 p.m. MANDATORY WORKSHOPS PSYCHOLOGY
12:15-1:00 p.m. LUNCH RESIDENCE DINING
1:10-2:00 p.m. COLLEGE FAIRE SOUTH GYM
2:10-3:30 p.m. STUDENT ISSUES NORTH GYM
3:40-4:45 p.m. CAREER WORKSHOPS **
5:35-7:30 p.m. ENTERTAINMENT/DANCE SOUTH GYM
GROUP B LOCATION
10:00-11:00 a.m. MANDATORY WORKSHOPS PSYCHOLOGY
11:15-12:05 a.m. GENERAL INTEREST WORKSHOPS **
12:15-1:00 p.m. COLLEGE FAIRE SOUTH GYM
1:10-2:00 p.m. LUNCH RESIDENCE DINING
2:10-3:30 p.m. CAREER WORKSHOPS **
3:40-4:45 p.m. STUDENT ISSUES NORTH GYM
5:30-7:30 p.m. ENTERTAINMENT /DANCE SOUTH GYM
**Refer to workshop schedule: Psychology, McLane, Social Science and Family Food Science Buildings.
CYC Contact Numbers on Saturday for interviews:
Rick Chacón, University Outreach counselor/adviser 906-4823
Maria Aguilera or Rocio Arevalo, co- chairs, 283-8048