U.S Representative Congressman José E. Serrano
With the United States focused on the 2016 election, as well as a number of other issues on the table, Hostos enjoyed a timely and educational visit from U.S. Representative José E. Serrano from the 15th District on March 9.
No stranger to Hostos Community College, Congressman Serrano has been serving the people of the Bronx since 1974—when Richard Nixon was President— first in the NY State Assembly and since 1990 in the U.S. House of Representatives. He is currently on the House Appropriations Committee and the Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government. Congressman Serrano is the most senior member of Congress of Puerto Rican descent.
The event was part of Hostos’ Department of Behavioral & Social Sciences “Social Sciences Speakers Series,” as well as a stop on the Congressman’s “Conversations With Congress” public forums.
Hostos Assistant Professor of History Kristopher Burrell from the Behavioral and Social Sciences Department organized the visit and said having the Congressman address the campus was an invaluable educational experience.
“It was incredibly important to have the Congressman here, not only because of all of the political happenings taking place throughout the country, but because it demonstrates the extent to which Congressman Serrano wants to connect to his constituents,” Professor Burrell said. “This gave members of our college community, particularly the students, the opportunity to listen to and engage with a political figure who shares many of the characteristics of their own backgrounds, as well as gain insights into how government operates.”
Hostos professors didn’t miss the chance to bring students. Included in that group were Professor Burrell’s History 210 class, Professor and Unit Director Peter Roman’s Introduction to American Government course, and others.
Speaking about his history, as well as the state of government today, Congressman Serrano opened up about various issues, including Congressional gridlock, immigration, the issues in Puerto Rico, the current presidential campaign, and many others.

Hostos President David Gomez. U.S. Representative Congressman José E. Serrano
The personable politician also talked about his early life, joking about being born a Brooklyn Dodgers fan before the team moved, and discussing more serious topics like how it was being raised in tenement housing and later the projects. The now 72-year-old’s message of positivity and perseverance was not lost on the captive audience.
Students were particularly thrilled to have a seated Congressman addressing them and they asked several questions, ranging from union issues, to voting, to specific pieces of proposed legislation. They came prepared and left with a better sense of who our elected officials are and what they strive to do.
The Congressman’s main message to students was to not lose hope in their country, vote, make their voice heard, and to dream big.
Hostos President David Gómez was on hand to personally welcome Congressman Serrano, as were Behavioral & Social Sciences Chairperson and Professor Howard Jordan; Interim Provost Christine Mangino; Assistant Dean of Academic Affairs and Professor Félix Cardona; Vice President of Workforce Training Carlos Molina; as well as a host of other Hostos administrators, faculty and staff.

About Hostos Community College
Eugenio María de Hostos Community College is an educational agent for change that has been transforming and improving the quality of life in the South Bronx and neighboring communities since 1968. It serves as a gateway to intellectual growth and socioeconomic mobility, as well as a point of departure for lifelong learning, success in professional careers, and transfer to advanced higher education programs. The College’s unique Student Success Coaching Unit provides students with individualized guidance and exemplifies its emphasis on student support services.

Named one of the top 10 finalists for the 2015 Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence, Hostos offers 27 associate degree programs and two certificate programs that facilitate easy transfer to The City University of New York’s (CUNY) four-year colleges or baccalaureate studies at other institutions. The College has an award-winning Division of Continuing Education & Workforce Development that offers professional development courses and certificate-bearing workforce training programs. Hostos is part of CUNY, the nation’s leading urban public university, which serves more than 500,000 students at 24 colleges.