Guest Blog

Article by i2i Institute 

Bridges Project does an incredible job of working with local folks, young and not-so-young, who are ready to explore their future options and turn their dreams into reality.

To dream, you’ve got to summon up the courage to expand your mindspace, honor what makes you unique, figure out the things you value, and allow in a little uncertainty about what your future could hold. Dreaming lets you see what could be, even if it seems like a stretch to get there.

Most of the time, we focus on the ways that individuals dream.

But what about institutions? Do they dream?

The New York Times recently wrote about enrollment rates for Hispanic and Black students in a hundred or so of what they call “elite” colleges — flagship public universities, or private colleges with selective admissions. Surprisingly, the percentage of students with Hispanic or African-American heritage at these colleges has decreased in the past two decades.

A second article, out this month, hinted that traditional efforts to recruit minority students might not be very effective.

The articles highlight a few colleges that are exceptions to these trends, and we were happy to learn that Bridges has strong relationships and a successful track record of connecting Taos students with these frontrunners.

Which made us wonder… Maybe the other colleges and universities themselves need to do a little more dreaming. They might need to expand their vision of what a truly diverse and inclusive campus might look like, and consider how their values might shift to achieve this. Maybe they could even embrace the idea of a demographically representative student body as a unique asset that could make them stand out among their peers.

That sounds like a dream to reach for.

Note: i2i Institute, a Taos-based research and evaluation firm that works for foundations and non-profit enterprises across the country and internationally, has provided evaluation and strategic planning services to Bridges since 2010. We’ve asked our friends at i2i Institute to contribute occasional blog posts over the course of our 20th anniversary year. While their words and thoughts are i2i’s alone — we don’t edit what they send us — we’re grateful for their unique and data-informed perspective.

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