Monday, November 19

Wenceslao: UC-Mexico Initiative needs internal funding from programs, fundraising

(Kelly Brennan/Daily Bruin senior staff)

(Kelly Brennan/Daily Bruin senior staff)

UCLA’s outreach is not just limited to the bounds of Westwood, Los Angeles, or even California. In fact, programs such as the UC-Mexico Initiative have ensured its influence is international.

The UC-Mexico Initiative is the University of California system’s way of encompassing campuswide activities directly involving Mexico, said Veronique Rorive, assistant director of the UC-Mexico Initiative. The initiative was created as a way to unite the multiple existing programs in the UC campuses such as the UC Education Abroad Program. It is also meant to build partnership between the UC system and Mexico in the long run.

The UC-Mexico Initiative is an effective and extraordinary tool that has provided grants and scholarships for UC students to study abroad. However, recently it was rumored by New University, UC Irvine’s student newspaper, that the initiative has lost its funding.

Thankfully, that rumor turned out to be false, as Rorive said that the program has secured funding from the UC Office of the President. However, if the funding from the UC Office of the President were ever discontinued, the initiative would cease to function.

With an increasing Mexican population in both California and the UC system, it is logical to have a resource that encourages students to study in Mexico as well as to educate others on Mexican culture and government. The UC-Mexico Initiative can continue to aid in addressing common issues between the UC-system and Mexico and educating the generations to come. UC students would continue to have the opportunity to gain a new perspective on Mexico through individual experiences and research, while students from Mexico would gain experience through the UC schools.

This means that this program needs to be protected. To prepare for any eventuality in which funds are cut, the program should take steps to become independent by soliciting contributions from the individual programs and by fundraising.

The UC-Mexico Initiative is an overarching umbrella that connects countless Mexican resources to UC students and staff. It is a much-needed resource that caters to the specific needs of Mexico researchers and downright enthusiasts. In the two short years since it was founded, the UC-Mexico Initiative has had many success stories demonstrating its effectiveness. Not only has it done great in the past but it can continue to do so by encouraging the interaction between the UC system and Mexico.

With the multiple existing programs united by the UC-Mexico program among the UC campuses, the initiative facilitates a connection for not only the students and staff but also the programs themselves. With the partnership that the initiative has created between the UC system and Mexico, more opportunities within the programs have become available. For example, UC students can participate in study abroad and research at the National Autonomous University of Mexico.

Which is why the first place to look would be within the programs the initiative helps to unite. In fact, the multiple existing programs united by the UC-Mexico initiative can all chip in to make the initiative independent of the funding provided by the Office of the President.

And the pitch to potential investors is compelling.

Since the Latino and Latina population are a majority within the state, the UC-Mexico Initiative is something that is needed within the community, said Erineo Garcia, chair of MEChA de UCLA. Sharing the knowledge and culture of the Mexican people is important and something the UC system should be working on.

The UC-Mexico initiative has the potential to change the perspective of students and staff by educating them as well offering study abroad opportunities. It has connected students to resources in Mexico and released scholarships for UC students to study in Mexico.

The strong partnership the UC system has created and continues to strengthen with Mexico can only be nurtured through the correct means of connection, and in this case, it would be the UC-Mexico Initiative. The initiative’s ongoing accomplishments and future plans ensure that the UC-Mexico Initiative has the ability to be self-sustained long term.

With the help of this initiative, the borders restricting the communication between California and Mexico regarding academia and government are soon to going to be nonexistent. Let’s hope it has the money to get there.

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Opinion columnist

Sandra Wenceslao is an Opinion columnist.

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