The Bronx Independent Cinema Center hosted their first-ever film industry mixer at Hostos Community College on Wednesday, April 12. The BICC hopes to reopen the defunct Paradise theatre as a cinema space by 2025. Photo ET Rodriguez

After years of planning, Hostos Community College’s new Academic Advisement Center for students officially opened late last month.

The center, with offices inside a new, 26-story affordable housing building adjacent to the campus, offers a full range of academic, financial, and personal help to students in one easy-to-access location.

Programs offers academic, financial and personal help from one easy-to-find location.

Hostos President Dr. Daisy Cocco De Filippis, who presided over the Feb. 29 ribbon-cutting ceremony, said the new center will play a pivotal role in empowering students as they work to achieve academic goals.

“We salute the thousands of individuals who diligently labored to see this day arrive and celebrate our impressive students who are moving forward on their educational journey in the company of wonderful mentors,’ said De Filippis.

The Center incorporates three programs, each with a different role, to offer a full range of academic, financial, and personal assistance to students in one location. These include:

  • The Student Success Coaching Unit (SSCH) assigns individual coaches to help students from orientation to graduation. Each success coach is available to students for academic, professional and personal development.
  • ARC, the Accessibility Resource Center offers online, self-paced help.
  • ASAP (As Soon as Possible), a state program, provides financial and academic planning assistance, as well as social services, to help students fast-track associate degree programs.

Siddique Mohamed, director of the ASAP program for the past year, said it’s built around a model of student engagement that includes monthly contact and an agreed-upon graduation date. Currently there are 10 academic advisors and 10 support staff handling 1,100 students enrolled in the program, he said.

Any student willing to make a commitment to the program is eligible to apply, Mohamed said. He explained that “it is essentially a graduation program. We have a model in place.  It’s all about engaging with students, about connecting with students, keeping on track and making sure they will graduate on time. They meet with us on a regular basis and  are expected to meet with us monthly.”  And if they come up against obstacles, ASAP will try to help them out. He describes it to the students as a “recipe for success.”

Bronx Borough President Vanessa Gibson also attended the ribbon-cutting and used the occasion to present $1.5 million to Hostos to rehabilitate the student cafeteria known as Hostos Cafe. Renovating and upgrading the cafeteria, which fell into disrepair during the pandemic, will provide the higher education community with a space “all can enjoy and appreciate,” Gibson said.

Hostos Cafe, across the street from the Center, was the object of student protests when it didn’t reopen until December 2022, more than a year after in-person classes resumed. The students objected to the cost of the food compared to its quality, and called for major upgrades to the deteriorated space.

No start date has been set for the cafeteria renovation, according to Hostos spokesman Ivano Leoncavallo. The project is still in its design phase and “there are a lot of moving parts and people,” he said.

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