“We all have super powers.” “There are so many great opportunities.” “College is fun!” “I have a place of acceptance at UNC Greensboro.”
Those are some of the impressions of the 96 rising high school seniors who, last week, came from across North Carolina to CHANCE, an overnight camp on UNCG’s campus that gives Hispanic and Latinx students their first taste of college.
“CHANCE” stands for “Campamento para Hispanos Abriendo el Camino a la Educación, and has served more than 500 students since it began in 2017.
Some of the first campers to come through the program have advanced through their undergraduate education at UNCG and earned their bachelor’s degrees this past spring.
From near and far
This year’s CHANCE students came from 38 different cities, as far away as Asheville and Wilmington, and with heritage backgrounds that include Cuba, Mexico, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Peru, Chile, Puerto Rico, El Salvador, Honduras, and Venezuela.
Throughout the week, faculty offered sessions on a variety of academic disciplines, workshops on leadership, joyful latinidad and holistic mental health. The campers played video games in the Esports Arena and enjoyed the pool and climbing wall at the Kaplan Center. They visited the Weatherspoon Art Museum and listened to a panel of alumni who shared tips and strategies for making the most of a college experience.
A team of 25 current UNCG students served as camp counselors and 25 UNCG faculty and staff provided all the planning, logistics, and overnight support for the program.
And the campers were receptive, taking a number of lessons with them as they departed: “I learned more about my major and the careers in it.” “College could be intimidating but also fun.” “Acceptance makes a difference in the environment you want to be in.” “Never be afraid, and always make connections!” “You will always be a part of a community.”
On the final day, the campers’ families attended a series of informational sessions that covered admissions and costs for college.
UNCG CHANCE has been recognized as a program to watch by Excelencia in Educacion, a national research organization whose mission is to improve latino educational success at colleges and universities across the country.
Take a CHANCE!
Learn more about UNCG’s program that introduces Latinx high school students to college life, including interaction with faculty, introductions to campus resources, and a lot of fun!
Story by Susan Kirby-Smith, University Communications, and Augusto Peña, Office of Intercultural Engagement
Photography by David Row, University Communications