Over the past decade, there has been explosive growth in the number of Latino Americans enrolled in universities across the country. Western Carolina University has been no exception to that rule. For the first time, WCU’s Hispanic population makes up a larger percentage of the student body (6.4 percent) than African American students (6.23 percent).

During Hispanic Heritage Month (September 15-October 15), we celebrate WCU’s Latino community as part of our Diversity Dialogues series. The Diversity Dialogues series attempts to capture and share the unique experiences of students from diverse backgrounds, helping open all of our eyes to different views of the world and bring us together through dialogue.

We’d like to share the stories of several Hispanic students at Western Carolina, including junior biology major Jenifer Montoya Velasquez, President of the Latino Appreciation Student Organization, graduate student Faviola Olvera, and alumnus Sarah Nuñez, who is also a member of WCU’s Board of Visitors.

In a conversation moderated by Chief Diversity Officer Ricardo Nazario-Colon, Jenifer Faviola and Sarah discuss their experiences as a Latino student at WCU, navigating their own self-identity as Americans of Hispanic descent and much more. We invite you to watch the video here.