‘Support system’ builds bridges to transfer, community engagement


Denis Perez / The Advocate

Puente Club President Mauricio Enrique Duarte points at a club member during an icebreaker activity during the Puente Club meeting on Thursday.

By Alondra Gallardo / The Advocate, Advocate Staff

The Puente Club focuses on supporting students in the transfer process and possibly impacting the community with the bridge to a four-year university from Contra Costa College.

The Spanish term puente translates to bridge in English, so the club literally is about building bridges and taking that bridge to transfer to a four-year institution.

Club president Mauricio Enrique Duarte said, “Our goal this semester is to build a bridge between other clubs in order to connect and unite.”

“Everyone is welcome, including students who did not go through or are not currently in the Puente program. We are all like family in this giant support system,” Duarte said.

Puente program counselor and club adviser Norma Valdez-Jimenez said, “It is really important for folks to know that we accept all students, you do not have to be Latino, you do not have to speak Spanish.”

“The Puente Program is a transfer preparation program and a learning community that is sponsored by the University of the California in partnership with community colleges,” Valdez-Jimenez said. “There are Puente projects in about 60 different community colleges around the state.”

To be part of the Puente program students have to attend an orientation and be eligible for English 142B.

Valdez-Jimenez said the coordination and events is in the hands of the faculty (in the Puente program) but the Puente Club now is in the hands of the students.

“It is really a way for students to put into action that part of the mission on transferring, building communities and becoming leaders,” she said.

Puente club member Oscar Martinez said, “The program teaches you about the transfer process and takes you to explore four-year universities.”

“We also focus on community and political issues that affects students and how we could help,” he said.

The Puente Club focuses more on interacting and the Puente program is focused more on academics, said Puente club member Christian Martinez.

“It is a fun interactive place where you can interact and share your thoughts and opinions without being judged,” he said.

Club member Abe Alshany said he thinks the Puente Club is a safe space where students can really build relationships with others and be themselves while knowing that they’re in a supportive environment.

“Being part of the Puente Club is a really great opportunity to meet new people and make new friends along with great chances and opportunities to explore college campuses,” Alshany said.

If interested, club meetings are held in SA-107 on Thursday’s at 2:15 p.m.