COLLEGE STATION, TX — Texas A&M's first Hispanic president is passing down the responsibility. But what a year he had with non-stop obstacles thrown his way, something no student body president has ever faced before.
As of spring 2021, there is a total of nearly 14,000 Hispanic students at Texas A&M in College Station.
Eric Mendoza was inspired by his parents to become an Aggie and represent his culture with pride.
“Being Hispanic was always a part of my life and growing up with my both sides of my family and both of my parents are also Aggies,” said Eric Mendoza, Senior at Texas A&M and outgoing student body president.
Mendoza became the first Hispanic student body president for the university in 2020.
“Knowing that just kind of to me told me the importance of it to our larger student body not just about who is that first but the fact that there is a first,” shared Mendoza.
He was more honored that there simply was a first and held that responsibility with gratitude. He acknowledged the representation he provides for the community allowing the younger generations to see themselves within him.
“I think once you realized that, you start to understand campus a bit more and start to really reflect on campus and our student population,” Mendoza added.
Once the main campus reaches 25% of enrolled Hispanic undergraduate full-time students, they can apply to gain the designation of a Hispanic serving institution. Department head of Hispanic studies Richard Curry says the university is close to doing so.
” They're able to indirectly of course but see themselves represented in a position whose voice is listened to,” said Richard Curry, Department head of Hispanic Studies.
Although a rewarding senior year it of course did not come without obstacles. The pandemic creating a constant flow of challenges, but Mendoza shared although difficult at times he was happy to represent so many different voices.
“It was an exciting year. It was an interesting year for all of our students and I think the biggest, well I think there’s a lot of challenges. I think the biggest thing was the fact that it continuously replenished itself in its challenges,” he said.
Mendoza graduated two weeks ago from today and looks forward to staying another year to get his master's in finance with the Mays Business School.
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