Leading by example
When Rick Rentas talks to prospective minority students about the opportunities available at Berry, he doesn’t have to look very far for an example to prove his point.
A Long Island native of Hispanic descent, Rick remembers feeling like a fish out of water himself when he first arrived on the Berry campus.
“I was used to seeing a lot more diversity in New York, and here it was quite the opposite,” Rick noted. “I caught myself doubting my choice. A lot of things ran through my head, like whether or not I would be accepted by my peers and if I would make friends.”
That uncertainty didn’t last long. As he became immersed in campus life through his classes and student work position, he learned quickly that acceptance among his new peers wasn’t going to be an issue.
“If I learned anything throughout my time at Berry, it’s that the community here is so welcoming and embracing of diversity,” he stated.
Now a junior government major, Rick has dreams of law school and, beyond that, a career that allows him to introduce opportunity into the lives of minorities and others who most desperately need it. Through his work as a multicultural liaison for the admissions office and as a volunteer for the Hispanic Scholarship Fund Foundation, he’s already getting started.
“My goal is to lead by example and show other students that being a minority is not a burden, but a blessing in disguise,” he explained. “There are a lot of minority high school students that hold the same preconceived notion I once had. They might not be able to see themselves at a private school like Berry because they believe they won’t fit in. Working with both prospective and current students as well as high school students who are minorities has allowed me to show them that they are just like any other student out there. Regardless of their race, creed or gender, they can have a successful and rewarding experience.”
Helping to make all this possible are the scholarships that Rick has received.
“Getting these scholarships means so much to me,” he exclaimed. “It means a chance to actually do what I want to do in life: Make a difference. Thank you!”
By Alyssa Hollingsworth
Student Editorial Supervisor