Hostos students played the part of public officials, debated important social issues, and lended a huge hand at the annual Somos El Futuro Conference in Albany the weekend of March 20, 2015.
Sponsored by the Executive Members of the New York State Assembly/Senate Puerto Rican & Hispanic Task Force, this conference lets legislators meet with constituencies, including CUNY and SUNY representatives, from across the state to discuss their pending needs and the legislators’ plans to address them.
For the past 19 years, the Somos El Futuro Conference is also home to the New York State Model Senate Session Project, which gives students from CUNY and SUNY the unique experience of representing senators from across the state in a mock debate. This year, the issue of raising the minimum wage was addressed. Hostos has always been represented well at this activity, setting records for most student participation in in 2008, when Hostos sent 10 strong women to debate. Hostos then broke that record in 2009, when 11 students participated.
This year Hostos, was well-represented again, as five students and one alumni made the trip. All of the students who participated are members of the Hostos Student Leadership Academy (SLA). They were Diamilatou Diallo, Yunerys Liriano, Jenny Moncion-Peña. Lassana Sissako and Isamar Garrido-Rodríguez. They were joined by Baruch student and former Hostos student, Giselle Belia.
This year the group had the privilege of working with former CUNY Professor and New York State Senator, Gustavo Rivera, of the 33rd Senate District, who met with each of the Model Senators. Sentate Rivera said he was thrilled to have Yunerys Liriano representing him in the session.
The Chairman of the Conference was Assembly member Marcos A. Crespo of Assembly District 85 in the Bronx. He welcomed the Hostos Community College delegation, which included Dr. David Gómez, Interim President; Nathaniel Cruz, Vice President for Student Development and Enrollment Management; Joshua Rivera, Director of Government and External Relations; Ana García Reyes, Associate Dean of Community Relations; Raymond Pérez, Director of the Accessibility Resource Center, and representatives of the Hostos Student Government Association (SGA). SGA members who attended included President Adrián Quinonez, Vice President Carlos Bibiloni and Senators Saint Mbakop A Boui and Yunerys Liriano.
Rivera is also a faculty member for the Edward T. Rogowsky Internship Program in Government and Public Affairs, which coordinates the Model Senate Program for the Somos el Futuro Conference. He has served as an adjunct in this capacity since 2003.
Interim President Gómez gave the invocation for this event.
Six Hostos students, Jolisel Vargas-López, Nayeh Yisrael, Cintya Jiménez, Lizayda Rodríguez, Fátima Hernández, and Angélica Herrera De León, also volunteered as part of the Malavé Leadership Program and the University Student Senate. The group helped to assist Albany find their way around and worked closely with students from the CUNY Coalition for Students with Disabilities. All of the volunteers received praise for their efforts at a special luncheon with the legislators on Sunday afternoon.
The group also met with CUNY Board of Trustee members Rita DiMartino and Hugo Morales, as well as Senior Vice Chancellor Jay Hershenson at a CUNY Luncheon.
About Hostos Community College
Eugenio María de Hostos Community College is an educational agent for change that has been transforming and improving the quality of life in the South Bronx and neighboring communities since 1968. It serves as a gateway to intellectual growth and socioeconomic mobility, as well as a point of departure for lifelong learning, success in professional careers, and transfer to advanced higher education programs. The College’s unique “Student Success Coaching Unit” provides students with individualized guidance and exemplifies its emphasis on student support services.
Recently named one of the top 10 finalists for the 2015 Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence, Hostos offers 27 associate degree programs and two certificate programs that facilitate easy transfer to The City University of New York’s (CUNY) four-year colleges or baccalaureate studies at other institutions. The College has an award-winning Division of Continuing Education & Workforce Development that offers professional development courses and certificate-bearing workforce training programs. Hostos is part of CUNY, the nation’s leading urban public university, which serves more than 500,000 students at 24 colleges.