Latino Student Union

Freshman Spanish major Lilian Romero and freshman psychology major  Andye Valencia are both cofounders of the Latino Student Union (LSU). As freshmen, they have heard other people’s doubts on whether or not they would be able to handle the responsibility of starting up an organization, but both women are innate leaders. They felt that even as full-time students with part time jobs, they could do it as long as they are prepared and able to manage their time.

They had heard from previous LSU treasurer and alumni Abel Chinos, before the previous Latino club disbanded, that there was no current organization to represent the Latinos on campus. Chinos was involved in the Office of Multicultural Student Affairs’ (OMSA) Summer Bridge Program called SUCEED. Both Romero and Valencia were a part of the program in August, prior to the academic school year.  Valencia decided to look up the diversity of campus online where she found that 3.1 percent of students on campus were Latino.

Valencia admits that 3.1 percent was not a big number although, “It’s still a number,” she said.

They talked to OMSA advisor Jeremy Payne, who is also an advisor for LSU and was a faculty member of SUCEED, about their idea. Payne guided them to the proper channels to start their organization and helped them out with renting the area and getting started.

“There aren’t a lot of people currently attending the meetings at the moment but I know that the diversity rate on campus is going to increase,” Valencia said. “I want to set up a stable organization where people aren’t afraid to share their thoughts, feelings or opinions. I know that this is a predominately white school and sometimes it can be difficult. There are times where I am the only person of color in my class and it gets awkward. Sometimes there are comments other students make or there are looks like I’m the only person of color they’ve seen in their life. People want to share those experiences, get advice on how to handle those situations and feel comfortable.”

The purpose of the LSU is to educate and share experiences on what being Hispanic and Latino means. Anyone is welcome to join and they are looking forward to what the future of LSU can mean for campus.

“Just do it. Don’t let anyone stop you,” Romeo said. “Once you come up with the idea to start something, just do it. You will be surprised once you get it done and see how other people will benefit from it. Don’t be scared to ask for help because people are willing to help you. After all, your net worth is your net worth. Other people can’t define that for you.”