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Baruch Students Represent College at Albany Conference

April 28-April 30, 2006 - Thousands of New York representatives of the state's Hispanic community attended the 19th annual New York State Assembly Puerto Rican/Hispanic Task Force Legislative Conference (“Somos El Futuro”) in Albany. Federal, state, and local elected officials, as well as community, labor, and business leaders, networked together at workshops, panel sessions, and receptions, with the larger goal of creating a Hispanic legislative agenda. The weekend events included a reception for Attorney General Eliot Spitzer and state Senator David Paterson.

This year’s conference marked the 10th anniversary of The Model New York State Senate Session Project, a leadership development program run in collaboration with the Puerto Rican/Hispanic Task Force of the New York State Legislature. CUNY and SUNY students assumed the roles of state Senate members and lobbied in the Senate Chambers of the Capitol Building on April 29. Representing Baruch College were Luisa Andrade, Walter Barrientos (May ’06), Linette Diaz, Denise Nolasco, and Christopher Romero. “Our students participated with a great amount of poise and intelligence,” said Eric Lugo, Baruch’s director of Government and Community Relations. “There is no doubt that they understood their roles as legislators and the issues being debated in the State Senate.” 

Walter Barrientos, who is graduating in May with a degree in Industrial Organizational Psychology, said: “It was a life-changing experience to be in the Senate's lobby where ‘lobbying’ was invented and being a senator for a day. I realized the complexities of making decisions for our state and I have a growing respect for our legislators.”

“My understanding of government is more concrete now,” said Luisa Andrade, who acted as majority whip of the Republican Party. “I understand how important participating in my community is, and I wish to educate myself more in order to fight for our rights.”

“The conference was a wonderful experience,” said Denise Nolasco, an economics major who minors in political science. “For a short period of time I felt the lives of all New York State citizens depended on my decisions. I loved it so much I might pursue a career in politics.”

Baruch Professor Héctor Cordero-Guzmán, chairman of the Black and Hispanic Studies Department, gave a workshop presentation on patterns of entrepreneurship and self-employment in the New York State Latino community. He noted the importance of Baruch College’s presence at the Conference: “It gives us an opportunity to present our academic and research work, showcase our extremely talented students, and to make contacts and connections with colleagues from around the state who share in our work and our mission of educating the best and brightest of New York's youth.”

As the Latino community is New York State’s fastest growing minority group, Somos El Futuro (We Are the Future) is aptly named.

Thomas Fugalli
Communications and Marketing

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