Spotlight: Wilma Crespo
Wilma Crespo is not only the current Associate Director of Student Development for the Center for Multicultural Advancement and Student Success (CMASS), but also a proud alumna of the University of Massachusetts Amherst.
Now as staff member, she helps students on campus focus on co-curricular and character-building experiences to ensure that students are prepared for life after college.
Wilma was inspired to be involved with student development because of her deep engagement with the concerns and issues between students and the university. Wilma was extremely involved in campus politics and led as a social justice activist during her undergraduate years here at UMass. She was the co-founder of Boricuas Unidos, an organization formed to address the interests and needs of Latino/students and celebrate the culture of the Puerto Rican community.Also, she was a primary facilitator of the North East Latino Student Conference (NELSC) as an undergraduate. As a first generation Latina, it was important for Wilma to learn how to successfully thrive in a predominantly white institution.
After obtaining her BS in Environmental Science from UMass Amherst, Wilma attended Vermont Law School where she earned her master’s degree in Environmental Law. In addition to Wilma’s interest in environmental justice, she also possesses extensive experience working alongside students. She worked as an academic advisor for the Bilingual Collegiate Program and the UMass Admissions Office.
Helping students channel their energy may be difficult when identity is taken into consideration especially in finding ways to reach out to students from various cultures, backgrounds, and orientations. She feels that the challenge is greater when reaching out to students who remain less active on campus, on both academic and extracurricular levels, and those who fail to utilize resources that are available to them.
Wilma works hard to use different mediums of publicity such as Campus Pulse, flyers, e-mails, Facebook and the CMASS website to raise students’ awareness of campus events. Though there are bumps on the road, Wilma feels rewarded from the “positive energy that students bring,” she says. She hopes to help them achieve their goals, step out of their comfort zones, and inspire their peers to do the same.
Wilma plans to revamp the Annual CMASS Symposium by using a more holistic approach to improve student success when they attend a conference. Her vision involves inclusion of underrepresented students by encouraging and helping them build the skills necessary to succeed in a primarily white institution.
Stefanie Chin, CMASS WebWriter