EAST LANSING — Native American and Hispanic Business Students (NAHBS), received an Excellence in Diversity Award from MSU in the category “Unit/Organization – Excellent Progress toward Advancing Diversity within Community.” NAHBS has had continuous success in community outreach programs like the Native American Community Outreach Program (NACOP) and the Latino Community Outreach Program (LCOP). NACOP, now in its fifth year, gives NAHBS members the chance to travel to Native American tribes throughout the state of Michigan and host professional workshops for tribal youth as well as learn about the Native American culture through tribe-sponsored sessions. NAHBS was recognized at the 2013 All-University Excellence in Diversity Awards ceremony at the Kellogg Center.
NAHBS was created to help increase the representation of Native American and Hispanic students in the college of business. To achieve this goal, NAHBS hosts a cultural outreach program every school year, alternating between the Native American and Hispanic populations, that allow for actual contact with these communities. Most recently, during the 2011-2012 school year, NAHBS held its Latino College Outreach Program (LCOP), where over 30 students traveled to Michigan State’s campus to learn about the importance of college and the numerous opportunities that are available to them.
NACOP is a four day event, between 12 and 15 of the organization’s executive board officers and members travel to tribes around the state of Michigan including the Bay Mills Indian Community, Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians, and the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians. NACOP’s purpose is to target potential Native American recruits for Michigan State University through personal contact with the organization and current students. NAHBS puts on workshops that serve about 20 middle school and high school aged youth that discuss and encourage the pursuit of higher education and career goal planning through interactive activities and focus groups
The organization also makes a conscious effort to learn about the Native American culture by interacting with tribal leaders and members. They participate in activities that teach them about tribal history, casino operations, traditions, spiritual beliefs, language, and more. This demonstrates the value that NAHBS places on celebrating diversity. By exposing its members first hand to the Native American lifestyle, individuals are able to gain an appreciation for a culture that may greatly differ from their own. Members are then able to take their knowledge and open-mindedness back to their own communities and continue to serve as advocates for the importance of diversity. Events such as NACOP are what make this organization unique.
The impact of NACOP was recognized in 2010 with the Student Life Outreach Award. NACOP has also led to two successful Native American Business Institute (NABI) programs. NABI is a 7-day residential business program where Native American high school students travel from across the country, from states as far as Arizona, to Michigan State’s campus to learn about the university and experience it first hand. The goal of the institute is to teach students about college life and planning for a future professional career. Throughout the week, students participate in team-oriented professional workshops and activities. The program has grown substantially from 2011 to 2012 from 11 to 22 participants, respectively. Since this time, multiple native students have applied and been accepted to Michigan State. NAHBS has and will continue to provide these individuals with a source of inspiration to pursue higher education, which is something that they otherwise may not have.