By Bianca Esquivel
What does Latinitas U do?
Latinitas U is a St. Edward’s organization open to all students interested in writing and learning about Hispanic heritage, culture, and issues. You are encouraged to publish their articles through Latinitas U’s online magazine on Medium. Latinitas U is St. Edward’s first college chapter; the organization is based in Austin and founded by St. Edward’s student and current Latinitas President, Ariadna Gonzalez. Gonzalez started the organization in 2016 while interning at Latinitas; she believed in starting constructive conversations at the college level and saw the benefit to both members and readers.
Before articles go up on the website, you first come together in bi-monthly meetings where members talk to each other about their experiences, beliefs, and inquiries about issues affecting the Hispanic community. While doing so, members are encouraged to form new friendships and make connections with others, as the organization unifies students from different academic backgrounds and interests through shared interest in Hispanic communities.
What do you get out of participating in Latinitas U?
Latinitas U aims to inspire and educate nonmembers about Hispanic culture and heritage in hopes to create awareness and invite new members to join the organization. According to Gonzalez, Latinitas U “offers readers the specific point of view of Latinx students. There are many other publications that are doing the same thing but do not talk about the issues affecting Latinx communities directly from the perspective of those affected. It also provides readers an inside look at our cultures and hopefully gives them something that they can relate to.”
Once you meet with other members, there is typically allotted time to write articles on any topic; these topics can range from serious issues, such as a member’s point of view on implicit discrimination in Mexican-American communities in music, books, or Netflix show reviews. Articles are then edited and uploaded to Medium. This publishing experience can strengthen your resume by increasing your writing proficiency, providing journalism experience, and illustrating your interest in philanthropy and community involvement–all of which potential employers might find desirable in a job applicant.
Although students may have opportunities in class to discuss issues surrounding minority or Austin communities, Latinitas U allows them to further discover and explore such topics by engaging in conversations in meetings and speaking directly with people in local communities. You are offered opportunities to engage with Austin through volunteer service. For instance, Latinitas will reach out to Latinitas U by notifying members of upcoming events for community service, many of which are hosted by the Latinitas nonprofit during the semester. Through these activities, members are able to meet others who work with Latinitas, which provides members networking opportunities for internships and post-graduation prospects or engagement in nonprofit work with similar organizations.
What does Latinitas U contribute to the St. Edward’s community?
Meetings are informal, and Gonzalez structures meetings to create a casual, friendly, and welcoming environment for members to feel comfortable and safe sharing their experiences and ideas. The structure of the meetings are conversations between equals, without judgment, and usually consist of members sharing topic ideas to create content for the magazine. These meetings are also a way for members to rid themselves of the everyday pressures and stresses that come with being a college student. Because Latinitas U focuses on creating a safe space for open and free dialogue, you are welcome to talk about any personal issues.
Additionally, you benefit from the organization by becoming active members of both the St. Edward’s community as well as the Austin community by educating others on issues they are passionate about through their writing and community service. They create long-lasting friendships while networking and building your resume. Above all, Latinita U’s environment fosters a caring and accepting climate on campus, and it is a source for the school to both learn about Hispanic issues and is a fun way for students to get involved.
How can students get involved?
For more information on how to get involved with Latinitas U, contact Ariadna Gonzalez at email@example.com. To learn more about the organization, visit Collegiate Link and check out the organization’s constitution.