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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Former president Murano to keynote summit on issues faced by Hispanics Aggies


Elsa Murano

Surrounding the growth of the Hispanic population in the United States, many public universities have seen a proportional rise in their Hispanic student attendance — including Texas A&M.
With a 7.2 percent rise in the Hispanic population in Texas from 2010 to 2014, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, and a 11.9 percent rise in the Hispanic population at A&M from Fall 2013 to Fall 2014, according to the University Metrics website, students are seeking solutions to problems facing the hispanic population.
The Hispanic Network Summit, an annual event held by the Texas A&M University Hispanic Network, is focused on topics related to this growing community on both a local and national level.
Held Thursday and Friday in the Clayton Williams Jr. Alumni Center, the event will feature speakers and honor several Hispanic Aggies.
The keynote address will be delivered by speaker Elsa Murano, director of the Borlaug Institute and former Texas A&M president. Murano said she hopes to use Norman Borlaug himself as a way to discuss the virtues that constitute a leader.
“Because I’m the director of the Borlaug Institute for international agriculture here at Texas A&M, one of the biggest inspirations for those of us that work here at the institute and those working in international agriculture around the world has been Dr. Borlaug himself,” Murano said. “The trigger that he has been for all of us working in international development in term of what it means to be a leader, what it means to get things done and pursuing your goals relentlessly, basically action. ‘Do more talk less’ is what he would say.”
Murano said that the traits exhibited by Borlaug that made him a great leader are certainly imitable as long as people are moved by what they do.
“His story is certainly simple. He wasn’t Superman. He was a regular person like the rest of us. He would go to these countries and see the abject poverty and malnutrition, he knew as an agricultural researcher could be fixed,” Murano said.
Murano said she hopes that her address will help people to think about how to look within themselves to find ideas and inspiration, to continue to be leaders.
“Certainly a better understanding of the impact one person can make, especially in agriculture. That one person can make a difference when they follow these things,” Murano said.
The Texas A&M University Hispanic Network was established in 2006 with the goal of increasing minority enrollment and hearing the concerns of Hispanic Aggies. The Network has many chapters across the nation that works with the university to increase diversity on campus.
“We work with the university system almost directly. The summit is the yearly event where we all gather,” said Hispanic Network President Perfecto Solis. “There’s a lot of great work that Hispanic network does… It’s a lot of community outreach and getting the word out about Texas A&M.”
Included in the community outreach are programs like “Phone-a-Fish,” in which the network will call families of students who have been accepted to the university but haven’t accepted admission. Solis said this allows them to form a connection with the student and the families.
“We’ll call the families and answer any questions they might have,” Solis said. “We talk about the Spirit of Aggieland, we answer questions that the kids might have. We form that connection associated with Texas A&M and the Aggie Spirit.”
Solis said the goal is to both educate and inspire participants by highlighting the work of a select group of Hispanics.
“Its informational, and its also intended to be inspirational,” Solis said. “A lot of the awards are going to be given to very special people who have done very special things. It’s meant to refocus us on what the next year is. It’s an opportunity for breakout meetings. We’re doing the best we can to support the university and support the Hispanic community.”

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