Black History Month was the backdrop for a lunch gathering among Black student leaders and AIC President Hubert Benitez on Friday, February 17, in the Stinger Pub. It was the second-such luncheon in which President Benitez met with first-generation students through the AIC Core Education (ACE) program.
ACE is a Student Support Services program for first-generation college students to help them achieve success, including their development as leaders. ACE Program Director Terrence O’Neill organized a similar lunch meeting with a group of student Latina leaders in January and is planning another with Pacific Island students soon.
The Black student leaders appreciated the opportunity to share thoughts about their College experience with President Benitez. “There’s an appreciation for specific groups here at AIC,” said senior Isaiah Longs. “We’re not just all lumped in together. As a president, he goes out of his way to have a personal experience with us.” Longs added, “It foreshadows a better future for AIC…the president extending his hand.”
Sophomore Jakiyah Griffin shared that she’s grateful for the sense of community at AIC, being far away from her home in Memphis, Tennessee. “Having lunch with the president is a great opportunity. It feels good to be seen.” Griffin, a member of the College Rugby team, was excited to meet Benitez at the luncheon after seeing him in attendance at the team’s games. “Him coming to cheer us on says a lot about his character.”