For the first time in its history, Washburn University hosted a recruitment event aimed at piquing the interest of junior and senior high school students of diverse cultural backgrounds in Topeka and other areas in the state.
The day-long event took place Nov. 7 and included presentations by Washburn academic advisers, career services and wellness center representatives, Greek life members and leadership institute spokespersons. The opportunity for the visiting students to attend a Washburn course highlighted the event.
Teresa Leslie-Canty, former Topeka High School Teacher of the Year and Jobs for America’s Graduates representative, also attended Multicultural Recruitment Day and says that “race equity” must be addressed at any college.
Students of diversity must be made aware of universities that are affordable and welcoming to be successful in their pursuits of undergraduate careers.
She recommends “an outreach effort” aimed at achieving race equality and allowing panel speakers to discuss any encounters with discrimination that they may have faced on campus.
The personal interactions with current Washburn students increases the likelihood that the juniors and seniors will feel confident in choosing a school for their undergraduate studies.
Sebastian, a sophomore in high school who was present for the event, says that he enjoyed learning that if he “joined the border patrol, there are ways to work towards being part of the FBI.”
Alex Hale, a high school senior, states that he “might actually consider attending Washburn” and that he “likes the criminal justice program” offered at the university. Hale also mentioned that he particularly appreciated the opportunity to “speak to Washburn students.”
Multicultural Recruitment Day is the brain-child of Danielle Dempsey-Swopes, director of University Diversity and Inclusion at Washburn.
“One of the best practices is to allow academically successful [Washburn] multicultural students to interact with the high school students we want to recruit,” Dempsey-Swopes said.
The director invited several student organizations to partake in the event, including the university’s Black Law Students Association, Hispanic American Leadership Organization, and Washburn Student Government Association.
These groups comprised a discussion panel at the event where they discussed their experiences at Washburn.
Dempsey-Swopes hopes to host a Multicultural Recruitment Day each semester.