Anastasia Figuera/PRISM Photographer

The Juvenile Urban Multicultural Program, also known as JUMP Nation, aims to help students strive for higher education. Throughout the academic year, the Binghamton University community is presented with general body meetings to have discussions on topics that oftentimes are not spoken about. In the end of these general body meetings, the facilitator(s) connect the topic to JUMP Weekend. This weekend will take place in the spring semester and is a 4-day, all expenses-paid experience that engages high school students and encourages them to attend higher education institutions. On Nov. 17, JUMP Nation had its annual Leadership Conference, which serves as a prelude to JUMP Weekend. It is a day full of informative and engaging events.

This busy but rewarding day began at 10 a.m. once the high school students arrived from New York City. They were immediately greeted by the enthusiastic executive board, who would guide these students through a planned day of productivity — a day these students will not forget. Once settled in, a free breakfast followed and was made possible by a donation from IHOP, which sponsored the meal. Next, the students prepared to engage in forums meant to educate them about life as a minority in a higher-level institution like BU. This was followed with a University campus tour to get them familiar with a college campus, as many of these students were already beginning to weigh their college options.

After the students got a sense of the gloomy weather that came with attending the “premier public Ivy,” they were exposed to Student Association-chartered organizations. Groups such as Bert Mitchell Minority Management Organization and the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers were present to speak about the importance of minority representation in these professional fields. Students learned about these organization and how they are able to impact the Binghamton community. In addition, organizations that specialize in the art of dance were also present to show these students that one can find their place within this school.

The Greek Stroll Show and Panel was the last stop for the day. Greek organizations from different councils including the Latino Greek Council, the National Pan-Hellenic Council and the Multicultural Greek and Fraternal Council showed the students what minority Greek life is about. The high school students not only cheered, but were also enthusiastic to ask questions regarding this event, as it served to help students understand the significance of wearing Greek-affiliated letters around campus. Because many of these students have only been exposed to Greek life through movies and media, they were able to see for themselves the fallacies regarding these films and learn the truth about minority Greek organizations here at BU. This was meant to expand their knowledge about Greek life and what it means to be a part of a social organization at the University.

Matthew Vizcaino, the co-fundraising chair for JUMP Nation and a junior majoring in economics, said that throughout his time in the organization, he has been able to help students become more engaged with their academics and has emphasized the importance of education among them. Through the Leadership Conference, Vizcaino was able to speak to students about his time at BU and served as an inspiration, as many of the high school students hope to reach a higher-level institution. Vizcaino, as well as the other JUMP Nation E-Board members, gave up their entire Saturday to help execute this successful event that was planned months in advance. Through this ability to help students, many e-board members create relationships with these students and impact their lives drastically, while also building relationships with other JUMP Nation members.

“When joining an organization at Binghamton University, I sought to stand by the message of the organization, but one thing that has motivated me to continue to be a part of JUMP is the relationship I have with those on the executive board,” Vizcaino said. “They are more like family.”