Alejandro Alejandre is a first generation college student who narrowly decided to pursue higher education the summer after graduating high school. He is now a senior clinical psychology major and has devoted much of his free time to growing and leading the Hispanic Leadership Program at Gunnison Middle School.
Alejandre was born in La Barca, Jalisco, Mexico and moved to Cedaredge, Colo., with his family when he was seven. He faced many doubts from his peers and himself before attending Western.
“Everyone thought I was going to drop out my first semester,” he said.
Even after enrolling at Western, Alejandre was set on only pursuing academics and transferring to a large institution after a year or two. At the time his older sister—also a Western student—was the president of the Amigos club, a division of the Multicultural Center. She encouraged him to get more involved on campus.
“The Multicultural Center became a home to me … it’s the rock that kept me from leaving,” he said.
In addition to hosting events throughout the semester, Amigos oversees the Hispanic Leadership Program at the Gunnison Middle School. Alejandre has been a critical leader in growing the program from 20 to now over 50 young boys and girls in the past two years.
The youth program focuses on character development, academics and community involvement. Alejandre also works to get the middle schoolers on Western’s campus as much as possible to get them thinking about college and learning how to use the different resources available to them.
“Involvement is critical for success … there is so much to learn from other people,” Alejandre said. “Being a part of something bigger than myself kept me from leaving Western, and teaching youth about the importance of involvement will help them for the rest of their lives.”
Alejandre’s outstanding contributions to Amigos and the Hispanic Leadership Program have inspired a new wave of student leadership within the Multicultural Center.
“The next leaders will have bigger goals than me,” he said with confidence.
Story and Photos by Peter Noon.