About 120 minority students admitted to the class of 2014 arrived on campus Wednesday for this year's Third World Welcome, a day before A Day on College Hill, which welcomes the rest of their potential classmates who applied regular decision. The two-day program, which aims to give prospective students of color a glimpse into campus life for minority students at Brown, began Wednesday and ends Thursday evening.
But the program, which offers campus tours, visits to classes, panels and social events for minority students and their parents, is just one part of the University's outreach to prospective students of color. This year, the University saw an increase of about 48 percent in applications from African-American students, and of about 42 percent from Latino applicants, compared to an overall applicant increase of about 21 percent, The Herald reported in February.
"We're making every effort to be more creative and more persistent in our efforts to recruit minority students," said Elizabeth Hart, associate director of the Office of Admission and director of minority recruitment.
These methods include electronic newsletters, a blog written by the student minority recruitment interns, gatherings in regions with high minority student application rates and a new partnership with the college access program QuestBridge, which provides full scholarships to low-income high school students, Hart said.
Admitted student Redab Alnifaidy took advantage of a regional meeting in Maryland for minority students during her application process. "I got to meet the dean of admissions there and that really got me interested in Brown," she said.
Hart also mentioned that current students called potential applicants and admitted students throughout the school year. "It's been wonderful that so many students have helped us with that effort, and I think it means a lot to the prospective students to have that outreach from a Brown undergrad," she said.
The Office of Admission's student minority recruitment interns have been very involved in the recruitment process throughout the year. "We've done a lot of call-outs to admitted students and prospective students, answering any questions they have," said Christopher Belcher '11, one of the interns.
"I was able to go to Atlanta and speak to students" at a regional event, said intern Danielle Dunlap '10.
Belcher, Dunlap, Natasha Go '10 and the office's three new minority recruitment interns helped organize TWW.
"It's a very intimate program," Dunlap said. "I think the whole idea is to put a more personal face on an institution," she added.
Attending TWW helped Belcher solidify his decision to attend Brown, he said. "I'm from Hawaii, so coming from so far away, I really needed to find that home, that family atmosphere."
The program "has transformed completely" in the four years that Dunlap has been involved in organizing it, she said, pointing to the addition of a Minority Peer Counselor workshop, a panel on undergraduate research and a panel that discusses "life after Brown."
Hart also said the number and variety of classes students can attend during the two days have increased this year. Specialized tours for students interested in science or globalization have also been introduced, she said.
A big difference between this year's TWW and previous years' is its timeline relative to ADOCH. TWW usually follows ADOCH, but this year is happening prior to the program for all admits for scheduling reasons, Go said.
Two participants said they would have preferred TWW to come after ADOCH. "I'm Hispanic. I'm all for Latinos, Mexicans, whatever, but I don't want to be seen as a minority," said prospective student Eddie Diaz. "I'm not coming in as a Hispanic. I'm coming in as an admitted student."
"I'd rather see more of a united campus, rather than just, ‘You're the minority and we're gonna single you out,' " said prospective student Samantha Alvarez. "I'd rather see the whole campus put together, and then show us the Latino groups within that."
Alnifaidy appreciated the outreach to minority students but wanted to see "the other side, how to integrate that into the rest of the community," she said.
At the same time, Alnifaidy said she appreciated the efforts of the program's organizers. "I feel like they've done a lot for us," she said. "I mean, that's kind of an understatement."
Wednesday's events included a welcome lunch, the MPC workshop, a welcome dinner with remarks from both President Ruth Simmons and Tricia Rose PhD'93, professor of Africana studies and the department's chair, and a cultural show put on by student groups. Thursday's events include various panels and end at 4 p.m., when ADOCH begins.
The individuals involved in organizing TWW will see the results of their recruitment efforts in the coming days as admitted students make their decisions.
"The numbers of applications we've gotten from minority applicants is way up, but the tricky thing is always matriculation," Hart said.
"I'm cautiously optimistic," she added.