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The University of Wisconsin Oshkosh Office of Admissions Community Liaison Team’s proactive efforts to promote diversity and create a more inclusive campus community will be recognized by the UW System Board of Regents Feb. 11, with the 2011 Board of Regents Diversity Award in Madison.

The Board established the awards program to recognize and support individuals and programs that foster access and success in university life. The UW Oshkosh Admissions team was chosen because of its many unique outreach efforts to recruit students from historically under-represented groups.

Director of Office of Admissions Jill Endries said the team recruits students by targeting specific locations in Wisconsin. The liaisons visit communities, make phone calls, send letters and meet with families to recruit students. Endries said the program is about nine years old and is the first of its kind in the UW System.

UW Oshkosh Chancellor Richard H. Wells joins the Board of Regents in recognizing the Admissions Community Liaison Team for their award.

“When the Admissions Community Liaison Team first began at UW Oshkosh there were minimal resources and team members to promote outreach efforts to recruit diverse students, and it has grown into the best team in the UW System,” Wells said. “I’m extremely proud of their outreach efforts and their programs that foster access and success.”

With the team’s unique and intentional form of recruitment, the enrollment and applications of students of color has increased. From 2009 to 2010, applications increased 23 percent from 1,002 to 1,229 and the number of admitted students increased 40 percent from 491 to 692.

The liaisons work with both families and students and are able to build strong connections with both.

Endries said it is not uncommon for English to not be the language spoken in the home and because Community Liaison Thomas Xiong speaks Hmong, he is able to communicate with a student’s family members.

“Especially in the Hmong and Hispanic communities, family is very important and trust must be made before parents are willing to part with their child,” Endries said.

African American Community Liaison Quincy La Grant said the interaction with students doesn’t end when they become UW Oshkosh students but continues throughout their time at the University.

Ryane Blue, a junior at UW Oshkosh, was recruited by La Grant as a student at Oshkosh North High School and said La Grant is both a mentor and a counselor to her.

“Quincy, I see him as family. I can go to him for anything,” Blue said.

La Grant said it is rewarding for him to see a student’s personal growth and to know he had an impact.

“The great thing about this is the opportunity to connect with someone that understands them without having to verbalize every aspect of their lives,” La Grant said.

In many situations, the job can become very personal to liaisons; who can relate to students and the problems they may be facing.

“It will never be just a job. If they were to be successful, it could never be,” Endries said.