Back in 2007, UC Riverside Undergraduate Admissions developed a partnership with the Puente Project, a program dedicated to improving college-going rates for educationally underrepresented students. Through this partnership, UGA provides a range of programming to California Community College students to assist them with transferring to four-year universities and achieving their educational goals, including facilitating the Puente Connection student organization and hosting events like Puente Day.
The transfer unit is hosting two editions of Puente Day this year, this first was held Friday, March 12, and the second will be held Wednesday, April 21. The event is open to community college students who are current or former Puente Project participants (known as " Puentistas") and will provide them with information on the admissions process and financial aid, as well as connect them with current UCR students who are members of the Puente Connection through a panel discussion. Registration is now open.
Jessica Verazas is the assistant director of transfer recruitment and evaluation in UGA. Her unit oversees the Puente Connection program at UCR and is hosting the Puente Days events. She answered a few questions about what students can expect at Puente Days and what her unit has planned next for Puentistas.
There have been in-person Puente events at UCR in the past. How are you adapting what’s been done in the past for a virtual experience?
Yes, we have offered Puente Day as an in-person event in the past. In-person events were limited to specific community colleges and we provided an admission presentation, student panel, and campus tour. Our virtual event is similar in content and we’ve added the financial aid presentation. Although we cannot offer in-person tours, we are providing students with a link to our recorded virtual tours at the end of the event. In a virtual format we opened the event up to all community college Puente students statewide.
What are some of the positives in having these be virtual events?
The silver lining about a virtual event is that we can connect with more Puente students. Students who don’t live within driving distance of campus have an opportunity to learn about the many resources available to students at UCR as well as the Puente familia they can find on our campus.
What does your unit have planned next for Puente students?
We are planning an admitted student celebration in collaboration with UCR Umoja for admitted Puente and Umoja transfers on April 29. Admitted Puentistas and Umoja transfers will get to celebrate their admission to UCR; learn about next steps to enrollment, financial aid, and transfer resources; and connect with current Umoja and Puente students. We are also offering peer advising throughout the spring. Puentistas can connect with our Puente outreach mentor to talk about preparing to transfer. Lastly, we are in the midst of planning the UCR Puente Connection Summer Series that will run from mid-May through mid-June.
We will host a “bienvenida” event for incoming Puente transfers and freshmen right before the start of the fall quarter. It’s an opportunity for these students to connect with each other and with members from the Puente Connection student organization before they start classes.
How can prospective students get involved with Puente Connection at their home schools and at UCR?
Students involved in the Puente Project past or present at their community college can get involved with UCR Puente Connection by participating in our events, taking advantage of peer advising, and following our social media. Puentistas that transfer to UCR can also join out Puente Connection student organization.
What are the benefits to students in being part of the Puente Connection at their community college?
There are so many benefits to being a part of the Puente Project while at community college. Puentistas have access to a dedicated Puente staff including a counselor and English instructor as well as mentorship. Furthermore, they are able to connect with UCR Puente Connection and find their Puente familia at UCR.
Is there anything else you’d like to share about Puente Connection or Puente Days?
We are excited to share all of the opportunities and resources that are available at UCR with Puentistas. Puentistas are passionate, resilient, and dedicated students who come from all walks of life. It’s an honor and a privilege to be able to work with this community of students to hopefully provide a positive impact on their transfer journey.