For the third time, Cal State San Bernardino welcomed back about 300 male African-American and Latino 10th graders on Friday, May 4, for the university’s annual Black and Brown Conference held at the university’s Santos Manuel Student Union.

About 60 CSUSB staff, faculty, administrators, students, visitors and university mascot Cody Coyote formed a “Coyote Mob” as they stood along both sides of a walkway leading to the student union, giving high-five greetings with chants of “Welcome Scholars” as the young men made their way to check in for the conference.

Among the greeters was 47th District Assemblymember Eloise Gómez Reyes, D-Grand Terrace, who presented the university with a proclamation for its work with the young men.

“I love the unity,” said Reyes, who attended the initial conference two years ago. “This is so exciting. Welcoming these young men to campus. This is so important for them.”  

It was the third visit for Deavon Jordan, a 16-year-old tenth-grader from Bloomington High School. Jordan said he wasn’t surprised by the welcome and was looking forward to the conference.

But it was a first-time visit for Bloomington High School classmate 16-year-old Monte Spratle, who was looking forward to the conference. “I want to learn a lot of things about college,” Spratle said.

The initial conference began three years ago when these young men — who come from five Inland Empire school districts in Colton, Fontana, Rialto, San Bernardino and Victorville — were in eighth grade. The program was implemented to provide the students with early college awareness, preparedness and information to increase the number of African-American and Latino males who enroll and graduate from college.

“There are few efforts to focus on these young men from our community,” said Felix Zuniga, a conference organizer and director of project management and assessment for the university’s Information and Technology Services division. “Likewise, it is one of the few projects where both black faculty and staff and Latina/o faculty and staff collaborate on a common goal of helping these young men in our community.”

The conference featured keynote speakers, breakout workshops and tours of the campus focusing on various topics that included admissions, cultural capital, self-actualization, financial management, health and wellness, sense of belonging, and social justice. The day also included a conversation with law enforcement.

The young men not only received critical college information and the opportunity to talk about relevant issues facing young students today, but they also connected with the CSUSB community and established ongoing mentor/mentee relationships to help them on their educational pathway to college.

The Black and Brown Conference is a collaborative effort among the Santos Manuel Student Union, the Division of Information Technology Services, the Office of Student Success and Educational Equity, the Office of Admissions and Student Recruitment, the Office of Student Engagement, the Office of Advising and Academic Services, Counseling and Psychological Services, and the College of Education.

The conference is sponsored by the Office of the President, the University Diversity Committee, the John M. Pfau Library, the Santos Manuel Student Union, the College of Arts and Letters, the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences, the College of Education, the Jack H. Brown College of Business and Public Administration, and the Office of Student Success and Educational Equity.

CSUSB is nationally recognized for its leadership role in changing the face of U.S. higher education. A reflection of the region’s dynamic diversity, CSUSB, which has the most diverse student population of any university in the Inland Empire, and the second highest African-American and Latino enrollments of all public universities in California, is considered a model of access and excellence in higher education.

For more information about the Black and Brown Conference, email

For more information on Cal State San Bernardino, contact the university’s Office of Strategic Communication at (909) 537-5007 and visit