Crimson Spirit award: Cesar Munguia

Cesar Munguia.Cesar Munguia, student services coordinator/advisor for Cougs Rise,  received a 2020 Crimson Spirit recognition.

After earning his WSU undergraduate degree in sociology, Cesar joined the University as a full-time staff member in the Office of Academic Engagement. As a project coordinator for Cougs Rise, he is committed to providing support services to students with the highest need, specifically those from populations that WSU is working to recruit and retain. Cesar is keen to identify and address gaps in student services. He is passionate about creating sustainable practices that translate into greater student success and satisfaction with the university.

Arguably the biggest contribution Cesar has made to the campus community is living a genuine life and being a role model for others: he is a proud and unafraid Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipient. Cesar uses his experience navigating restrictive educational systems to mentor others and help them surmount obstacles and earn a degree. As soon as he became a professional staff member at WSU, he sought opportunities to advocate for better, more inclusive practices for undocumented students. He became the advisor for the Crimson Group, an activist and support group trying to provide the right tools and resources to students who wish to learn, lead, and advocate for WSU dreamers.

Under Cesar’s guidance and mentorship, the Crimson Group has become more effective at building partnerships and collaborations with the campus community and more adept at addressing the needs of the students that they serve. One of the Crimson Group’s most recent initiatives was the “Crimson for a Cause” fundraising event in fall 2019. The group realized that there was a significant financial need among students who needed to renew their DACA status. For most DACA recipients, the application fee to renew DACA status was a huge burden. Cesar’s leadership skills were crucial for the planning and execution of a very successful fundraiser and he continues to be an incredible resource to the students in the Crimson Group.

He is involved in other areas at the university that support the recruitment and retention of a diverse student population, including La Bienvenida Planning Committee, an orientation program entirely in Spanish that’s designed to help parents connect with WSU resources. Ceasar continuously advocates for innovative and varied outreach to parents and students as they navigate the college admission process. He has assisted in the developing of recruiting materials, participated in phone banks, and coordinated outreach presentations for potential parents and students.

Following orientation events, Cesar continues to provide students and parents with information on how to apply, confirm their attendance, transfer credit, and complete all the necessary steps prior to their arrival on campus. He also helps with class prerequisite requirements and career guidance. Furthermore, he is mindful of the importance of parental and family participation in the college-going process and makes sure that participants develop a sense of belonging to the institution.

Cesar also serves as the advisor for Omega Delta Phi, a multicultural service/social fraternity focused on helping members graduate while giving back to the community. He facilitates learning opportunities and opportunities to serve. As a result, students develop a strong sense of belonging within the group and at WSU, which increases their likelihood of graduation.

As one of his nominators notes, Cesar “has contributed to Washington State University in a far-reaching manner, resulting in a compelling impact to the institution.” His commitment to WSU has been tangible, passionate, and has made the University a more welcoming, inclusive community.

From the WSU HRS website.