¡Motívate! works to reduce Latino dropout rate

As one of the activities for the club, students were asked to write
what motivated them to attend college. Participants were filmed for
a video that will be presented at the conference.
Photo courtesy of Amy Wilson

The Fresno State student population is 36 percent Latino. Of that 36 percent, 14 percent of full-time students and 50 percent of part-time  students drop out during their freshman year.

After hearing about the high Latino dropout rate, seniors Lucerito Salgado and Amy Wilson decided to form the club “¡Motívate! Society of Latino Motivators.”

¡Motívate!’s main goal is to motivate Latino students to not only pursue a higher education, but to graduate as well.

“The idea spawned from the dropout rates facing the Latino Community in the Central Valley,” ¡Motívate! vice-president Amy Wilson said. “We wanted to offer something that would serve as an intermediary between students and the community.”

The club also works to teach students and members of the community how to be professionals, network and to seek out mentors as well as be mentors. ¡Motívate! teaches through workshops, presentations and conferences.

“It’s important to invite the community because they are the ones that open the door,” Wilson said. “They need to start the chain reaction. They need to offer opportunities while students are still in school.”

One of ¡Motívate!’s  main points is to teach students to broaden their education outside of the classroom.

“Students need to look for opportunities,” Salgado said. “They can’t just wait for opportunities to come to them. Students need to be initiators and take control of their own education.”

“If students are going to become marketable they need to have more than just a degree,” Wilson added. “They need experience. They also need to get out of the same parameters they’re used to being in every day. They need to go out and test the waters, find something new and take personal responsibility for their own success.”

The idea occurred to Salgado and Wilson over the summer when they heard about the dropout rate of Latinos.

Determined to do something about the problem, the two began planning and in August the club became an official club on campus.

This Saturday ¡Motívate! will hold a conference called “¡Motívate! Discover Your Passion for Success” that is open to college students, high school students and members of the community. The conference will have seven different speakers who are prominent members of the Latino community either locally or nationally.

“Latinos are the majority in the Valley,” Wilson said. “We’re the ones most likely to make a difference. It’s up to us to make the Central Valley thrive. Fresno State is the center of the community so why not start there?”

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