University, nonprofits and corporations unite for student success

May 10, 2019

History has shown that positive things can happen when individuals unite for the greater good. The HOLA partnership — the Hispanic/Latino Organization for Leadership — follows in that tradition.

The HOLA partnership is a collaboration between Arizona State University, nonprofit Be A Leader Foundation and leaders from Hispanic Employee Resource Groups from corporations in the Phoenix metro area. The initiative combines each partners’ strengths and resources in support of education and student success. HOLA Partnership volunteers HOLA Partnership volunteers at Be A Leader’s October 2018 Taking Steps Toward College Success event. Photo courtesy of Karla Robles/Be A Leader Foundation Download Full Image

“Taking responsibility for the success of students in our community and helping them uncover the possibilities available to them is a priority for Educational Outreach and Student Services and for ASU," said Lorenzo Chavez, assistant vice president for outreach partnerships at ASU. "Working with our longtime partner Be A Leader Foundation and bringing new corporate partners into the fold enables all of us to broaden our efforts for the benefit of Arizona’s students, families and communities.” 

The partnership was formed when leaders from the Hispanic ERGs were looking for an education-focused community service opportunity. Through connections to ASU and Be A Leader, who have partnered for the past 10 years, they worked together to create a FAFSA application event that would take place during Be A Leader’s annual Taking Steps Toward College Success event in fall 2018.

The free event serves Arizona high school students and families, helping them navigate the path to college. The day includes a college-going resource fair with more than 50 organizations including nonprofits, in-state universities, military academies and scholarship organizations.

Karla Robles, chief strategy officer for Be A Leader Foundation, said that the majority of the students they serve haven’t been exposed to the college application process, and those in the partnership are able to help guide them and make the experience less cumbersome.

In preparation for the event and service opportunity, Chavez worked with Robles to train more than 60 individuals from the ERGs on how to assist with FAFSA completion. The volunteers represented organizations including Wells Fargo, MUFG Union Bank, Vanguard, Discover, American Express, Bank of America, the city of Phoenix, SRP, APS and Arizona Federal Credit Union.

Ivan Calderon is vice president of third-party management at MUFG Union Bank and leader of the company’s Hispanic ERG. He said the event was a perfect opportunity for all ERGs to promote and support higher education efforts in Arizona.

“We were inspired to support Be A Leader’s ‘Taking Steps Towards College Success’ after learning about the impact that just completing a FAFSA application has on the likelihood of someone attending college. All the folks involved in this initiative were surprised to learn how much of an effect we could have if we supported students and families in that process,” Calderon said. 

He believes collaborations like the HOLA partnership are important not only for philanthropic reasons, but for economic ones as well. “Given the advances in technology, we need to have an educated and prepared labor force to meet future challenges and to keep Arizona competitive in the global economy.”

Adriana Delgado, who leads Wells Fargo’s Hispanic Employee Resource Group, echoed Calderon’s comments. 

“Published research shows that higher education is directly correlated with economic growth and stability,” Delgado said. “Directly applying that notion to the Taking Steps Towards College Success event, one can argue that the students we helped during this event will one day be our colleagues, our customers, our government leaders.”

Chavez said the partnership plans to continue working together and grow their participation for other FAFSA-focused events this fall.

Copy writer and editor, Educational Outreach and Student Services


ASU global studies student attends Model United Nations of the Far West

May 10, 2019

Logan Johnson is a senior at Arizona State University majoring in global studies and Russian within The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. With the assistance of the SPGS Travel Support award offered by the School of Politics and Global Studies, Johnson was able to attend theModel United Nations of the Far West (MUNFW) conference in San Francisco in April.

The Model United Nations offers students a chance to role-play as delegates in different U.N. committees. The theme for the 69th annual session of the MUNFW was “A Common Humanity: Back to the Principles of the U.N. Charter.” John Logan Johnson global studies major at ASU Logan Johnson. Download Full Image

Johnson shared some of his experiences with ASU Now:

Question: What was it like to attend this conference?

Answer: This was my second year attending the MUNFW conference, and I absolutely loved it. The energy of the conference is electrifying. The students who attend the conference are from a host of universities around the country, and the zeal they all have for the conference is infectious.

Q: What were some of your takeaways from this experience?

A: This year, as someone who has been to multiple Model United Nations conferences, as well as being in the leadership of the Model United Nations club on campus, I spent a lot of time at the conference assisting and mentoring newer club members who were going to a conference for the first time. I really enjoyed being able to help these newer members acclimate to the rigors of a Model U.N. conference. One of the students in our group was representing his country on the Security Council simulation at the conference, and I was also able to assist him with his research on the workings of the U.N. Security Council, which was a new experience for me.

Q: What advice would you give those who are interested in a similar experience?

A: Join the Model United Nations club! We will be going to the conference again next year and are always looking for new members. To join, you do not need any prior experience with Model United Nations; our club will teach you all that you need to know before the conference next year. We have a great core group of people who are willing to share their past conference experiences with new members and will mentor them so that they can have an exciting and fulfilling time at the MUNFW conference.

Q: What are your plans after graduation?

A: After graduation, I intend on going to graduate school to attain a master’s degree in Russian and Eastern European studies. My eventual goal is to be able to work in a position that allows me to impact real-world policy in relation to Russia and the other former Soviet republics.

Q: How do you think this trip will help you attain your career aspirations?

A: This trip helped me to develop my public speaking and leadership skills, which will definitely help me to secure a spot in a graduate program as well as the job I want. The most valuable thing that I developed at this conference, however, would have to be the ability to research the policies of nations on the fly and extrapolate what their position would be on a similar matter. This kind of extrapolation based on research and data is exactly the type of thing I aspire to do as a career. Model United Nations conferences provide ample opportunities for students to build their research skills and then craft a realistic policy for the country they are representing, which is quite honestly not an opportunity provided elsewhere.

Matt Oxford

Manager of marketing and communications, School of Politics and Global Studies