Hartford Consortium for Higher Education Celebrates Its 45th Year

Trinity Students Participate in Panel Discussion of “Hartford As a College Town”

Roxana Velediaz Alvarez ’20 shares her experiences
during a student panel discussion of "Hartford As a
College Town." (Photo by Wallace Black.)

Hartford, Connecticut, June 12, 2017 – Downtown Hartford’s newly reopened Goodwin Hotel was the setting for the Hartford Consortium for Higher Education’s recent 45th anniversary celebration breakfast, attended by more than 100 representatives from the HCHE’s 11 member colleges and universities. As one of the five founding institutions of the HCHE, Trinity College was well-represented at the May 31 gathering, which was the first official event to be held in the beautifully renovated Goodwin Hotel.

Mayor Luke Bronin helped to welcome the crowd, congratulating the HCHE on its 45 years and conveying his appreciation for the positive energy felt in the city due to the growing presence of college students. Bronin challenged HCHE members to consider three areas of focus during the next five years: First, college completion: making sure students make it all the way through to graduation. Second, job growth: “Your institutions can play a huge role in preparing this region so we can once again be a center for manufacturing.” Bronin’s third proposed focus area is “to continue to help create a city and region that are energetic and vibrant,” which he said could help attract businesses and employees to Hartford. He added that evidence of such vibrancy could be seen in the revitalization of places such as the Goodwin Hotel.

Senator Richard Blumenthal sent congratulations via a video message as he was unable to attend the celebration. HCHE also was recognized by Governor Dannel Malloy with a proclamation, which stressed the positive impact of HCHE programs for Hartford area youth.

Four Trinity students joined a panel discussion of “Hartford As a College Town,” along with four students representing Capital Community College, Central Connecticut State University, UConn, and the University of Hartford. WNPR’s Chion Wolf served as event emcee and moderator of the panel discussion. Describing herself as a big fan and resident of Hartford, Wolf asked the students to share some of their favorite aspects of the city as well as suggestions for how college students might engage more with the community.

Tyler Wrenn ’19 spoke of the ease with which he has used a CT Transit U-Pass to travel around the city and region, including to an internship he had at the Old State House in downtown Hartford. Wrenn’s enthusiasm for the U-Pass partnership with CT Transit – through which Trinity students have unlimited use of all CT Transit local service buses as well as the rapid transit system, at no out-of-pocket cost to the student – prompted a student from another college to ask how he could get a U-Pass. Wrenn turned out to be an ideal person to ask; this summer he and other Trinity students are working on a video to show other Trinity students how easy it is to use a U-Pass to get around Hartford.

Hamna Tariq ’20 and Roxana Velediaz Alvarez ’20 both discussed opportunities they have had to enjoy the city’s cultural diversity. Tariq, an international student from Pakistan, zeroed in on the array of excellent restaurants, noting that there are seven Indian and Pakistani restaurants in the region (Taste of India is her favorite), and many other places to sample international and local cuisines. Alvarez, from Morristown, Tennessee, said she was happily surprised to discover in Hartford that there are so many street names that are in Spanish. “Because of its cultural diversity, Hartford was inviting and easily felt like a second home,” she said. “Many attractions are also conveniently located near Trinity, like theWadsworth Atheneum and Bushnell Park, allowing for exposure to new cultures and fun experiences.”

Liam Andrian ’20, who is from Glastonbury (20 minutes southeast of Trinity), mentioned that he learned to play golf at Hartford’s Goodwin Park and is glad that he has the opportunity to continue playing Goodwin’s course with Trinity’s golf team. Andrian noted there are other great parks in Hartford, such as Keney Park, that he would recommend students check out if they have not visited them yet.

In response to Wolf’s question about changes in Hartford that students would be in favor of seeing, Andrian said he would like to see more awareness on the part of Trinity students about the neighborhoods in which Trinity’s campus resides, especially the Frog Hollow neighborhood, which has been described as “Hartford’s most New York style urban neighborhood.” Tariq echoed Andrian, saying, “We need to know more about our community and remove stereotypical notions.” Wrenn, originally from Waterbury, Connecticut, added that he would like to see more retail and department stores in Hartford. Alvarez circled back to the idea of encouraging more college students to use the CT Transit U-Pass, saying, “it’s a matter of improving their knowledge of how to get around and explore.”

Altogether, the 11 HCHE member institutions represent 36,000 students and 3,000 faculty members. Since 1972, the HCHE has promoted the sharing of collegial resources, information, expertise, and ideas. Its cross-registration program enables students from any member campus to study at another school, providing the opportunity to enroll in a course not offered at one’s own college. HCHE is also known for promoting pathways to and through college for high school students with programs such as the Center for Higher Education Retention Excellence (CHERE), Career Beginnings, Jr. Apprentice, and College Supports Networks, the goals of which are to increase the percentage of teenagers who graduate from high school and pursue higher education. 

Written by Kathy Andrews