Incoming Multicultural Students Welcomed at New York City Send-Off Event

New Student participants

Heading to college for the first time can be daunting for any student, but particularly so for those who may be first in their family to attend college or who are members of underrepresented populations. That was the impetus for the 2023 Multicultural New Student Send-Off event, held August 17 at Lubin House in New York City, sponsored by the Office of Multicultural Advancement in partnership with the Office of Admissions.

“Our goal is to welcome new students and their families to Syracuse University, to help these students build community with their peers and with alumni of color, and to make them aware of the many support services available to them,” says Maria J. Lopez ’05, G’12, assistant director of scholarship programs in the Office of Multicultural Advancement. “My role was to introduce the Our Time Has Come (OTHC) Scholarship and Leadership programs and the Coming Back Together Reunions.”

In addition to Lopez, students and their families heard from diverse alumni who offered advice based on their own time at Syracuse University and shared how their experiences led to professional success. Panelists included former OTHC Scholars Rafael Balbi ’11, director of product management at Vimeo; Anthony Herbert ’15, principal lead at Securonix; and Paloma Veloz ’09, a creative producer at Malka Media Group. José Vilson ’04, cofounder of EduColor, an educational equity advocacy organization, also welcomed students into the Orange family.

Veloz and Herbert both shared how extracurricular experiences impacted their careers. For Veloz, it was being part of CitrusTV that helped prepare her for her career in media. For Herbert, it was the impact of receiving the first Syracuse 8 Scholarship through the OTHC Scholarship Program. He says it was learning about the activism and advocacy of the Syracuse 8 that inspired him to give back by mentoring youth in coding.

Future SU member with his family   Balbi says he volunteered to participate because he believes it’s important for students to see alumni “who look like them” who have gone on to successful careers. His message: “Syracuse is a great place to try new things,” he told students. “I changed majors and learned more about myself because I was continually willing to try new things.”

That included going abroad. “You’ll likely never have another opportunity in your life to live elsewhere for six months. Going abroad to Madrid changed me in many ways and I wouldn’t be who I am now without that trip.”

Vilson, Balbi’s older brother, encouraged students to embrace their new Orange identity. “The best part of the Syracuse University experience is the sense of community and growth that happens among us, and how we project that to the rest of the world,” he shared. “Whether in our classes or in our extracurricular activities, students recognize that something special is happening there and we keep that alive whenever we see the color orange or the word Syracuse. It’s opened doors wherever I go, and I wish for new students the same.”