At first glance the University of Colorado seems like a massive facility guarded by the mountains behind it. With the first steps onto the campus all the buildings warp into a maze where thousands of students mix. However, there are students who strive to pave a clear path within that maze. One of these students is Marco Dorado.
Marco Dorado is a senior in finance at CU-Boulder, and he says he wants to provide an avenue to access college and help communities say, we can go to college. Marco wants to fund CU better, or help students gather the resources to enter school, even in the face of rising tuition costs. While Marco works on his degree, he is contributing as a Puksta Foundation Scholar and calls his work with CU Student Government (CUSG) as the president for external affairs a full-time job.
As one of the tri-executives for CUSG, Marco's position as president for external affairs has called for him to invest a lot of his time in the campus. He is constantly shuffling between different events, meetings and groups in order to establish connections all over campus.
"I work with factors or entities that are external to CUSG or the University but have a direct impact on the CU student body," he said He takes his position as a "good avenue to address issues that underrepresented students face." Presenting these issues won't make change a certainty, but it's a start, he says. He works with the administration to face these issues.
As a Puksta Foundation Scholar, Marco is involved in a civic engagement project of his choice, and he decided to work with Latino high school students and help them with college accessibility.
In his different roles, Marco says he has gained insight into how the University works and sees how things are. It has provided him with ideas to change the way things are, along with his other executives. These roles have also helped him give back to his community. He is giving back to students who went through things he went through by providing opportunities to learn about the options they have and to show that college is a possibility in the future.
Although access to education is important to Marco he also believes that students should be able to feel like they belong on campus. Campus should be a home away from home, he says. Here at the University, gaining an education is important, but establishing networks, leadership skills and friends is also important.
"Anyone should be able to feel like they belong," he says.
An experience that influenced Marco to fight for diverse communities was when he interned for the Colorado Latino Forum (CLF) in the summer of 2011. CLF revolved on creating boundaries for districts based on the U.S. Census. Focusing on Latin American populations, Marco noticed that "if you put Latinos in one district, it dilutes their voice to advocate for themselves." Working through CLF, Marco says he helped with redistricting efforts to draw lines that optimize the voice of Latinos.
From this moment, Marco realized that he wanted to be more politically engaged. He wanted to work on public policy and make public policy work the way it should work— it should work for the people. Marco believes that there is progress, but he makes sure to remember that there is progress to be made.
Ben Nguyen is the inner-campus liaison for CU's Student Outreach and Retention Center for Equity