UHV student group gives award to owner of bilingual newspaper

Emett Alvarez

The owner and managing editor of a bilingual monthly newspaper in Victoria was the recipient of the 2010 PODER award Tuesday night for his work encouraging area Hispanics to obtain a college education.

Emett Alvarez, who runs Revista de Victoria, received the award at a community event put on by members of the Mexican American Student Organization at the University of Houston-Victoria.

“He’s a big supporter of education in Victoria and helping out however he can to encourage students,” MASO President Juan-Diego Martinez said after the event.

Alvarez is a former vice chair and member of the UHV President’s Regional Advisory Board, and currently serves as a trustee of the Outreach Academy Charter School in Victoria, a member of the Food Bank of the Golden Crescent Board of Directors, and a grand knight of the Our Lady of Sorrows Knights of Columbus Council 8388.

“When I went away to college, I made a promise that I would come back to Victoria someday and make a difference,” Alvarez said after the event. “All of us must play a role somewhere to contribute to our community.”

Alvarez previously was the executive director of the Bay City Community Development Corp. and the Jackson County Chamber of Commerce. He also was the deputy district director for former U.S. Rep. Greg Laughlin.

In 2009, he was honored by the Greater Victoria Civic Coalition at the Wonders of Victoria Awards and Academic Scholarship Celebration.

Martinez said that this was the third year MASO had presented a PODER award to an outstanding community member, although it was the first year the community was asked to submit nominations. “Poder” means “power” or “ability” in Spanish.

“We wanted everyone to get involved, and we wanted to invite community members to recognize Mr. Alvarez with us,” Martinez said.

The event on Tuesday also was the first time MASO had asked a speaker from a national organization to attend. René González, executive director of student services and the corporate internship program for the Hispanic Association of Colleges & Universities, talked to the audience about his organization and encouraged everyone to work together to raise the educational attainment level of all students.

“It’s about preparing students, preparing the next generation to move along,” he said. “Students not meeting their full potential hurt the country.”

HACU is a nonprofit organization based in San Antonio that champions Hispanic success in higher education.

“UHV is not a Hispanic-serving institution yet, but it will get there,” González said.

Hispanic students make up at least 25 percent of the enrollment of Hispanic-serving institutions.

The University of Houston-Victoria, located in the heart of the Coastal Bend region since 1973 in Victoria, Texas, offers courses leading to more than 80 academic programs in the schools of Arts & Sciences; Business Administration; and Education, Health Professions & Human Development. UHV provides face-to-face classes at its Victoria campus, as well as an instructional site in Katy, Texas, and online classes that students can take from anywhere. UHV supports the American Association of State Colleges and Universities Opportunities for All initiative to increase awareness about state colleges and universities and the important role they have in providing a high-quality and accessible education to an increasingly diverse student population, as well as contributing to regional and state economic development.

Paula Cobler