Above: Members of the Hispanic Latino Board. High (L-R): Jeronimo Ortega and Jerry Windhorn. Backside (L-R) Juliana Rivera, Pamela Painter and Kayla Pina.
It’s at all times necessary to have a spot the place you’ll be able to go and really feel such as you belong, the place you’ll be able to rejoice your tradition and traditions and, by being collectively, you’ll be able to share your heritage with the bigger neighborhood. And that’s precisely what the Faculty of Charleston’s Hispanic Latino Club (HLC) does.
Based in 2010, the HLC’s mission is to unite “all of CofC’s college students of Hispanic and Latino descent in addition to different college students collectively to embrace our nationality and study extra about our tradition.” And with Nationwide Hispanic Heritage Month concluding this week, the membership’s key function in connecting college students of Hispanic and Latino heritage is entrance and heart.
“By the Hispanic and Latino Membership, I’ve discovered a household and assist system,” shares HLC member Jeronimo Ortega, a senior majoring in psychology and women’s and gender studies. “I’ve loved being part of a neighborhood that’s extremely accepting and loving. HLC has shifted from being a spot the place I discovered steering and assist to being a spot the place I can now assist different, youthful members of our neighborhood who had been in the same place as me.”
Alumna Christina Arguello ’12 determined to create the membership after her expertise taking part within the SPECTRA (Speedy Consolidation and Transition) program, which serves newly accepted college students from underrepresented populations, left her feeling remoted.
“As soon as I acquired to this system, it was straightforward to see that I used to be within the minority inside the minority,” says Arguello, noting that as she linked with different Hispanic and Latino college students she discovered she wasn’t the one one who felt that approach. “Over the 2 years after SPECTRA, I continued to satisfy different individuals of Hispanic descent. We mentioned how there have been teams, Greek life, golf equipment, and so on. that revolved round all the opposite nationalities, aside from Hispanics and Latinos.”
Impressed by her father, who created a bunch at his employer for Hispanic and Latino workers, Arguello determined to take motion and launched the HLC with an preliminary membership of 15 college students.
“He had helped discovered a bunch to assist Hispanics and Latinos in his office,” remembers Arguello. “I recognized the necessity to have a secure house away from residence at CofC, the place Hispanic and Latino college students may rejoice their cultures and have their very own household.”
And that’s what Arguello wished to do by creating the Hispanic Latino Membership – provide college students for years to come back an area the place they may discover a sense of belonging and camaraderie.
“I hoped that after I left the Faculty that the membership would proceed and thrive and that Hispanics and Latinos accepted to the Faculty may come and really feel accepted and know that their opinions mattered and had been related,” she says.
Right now, the HLC is made up of greater than 100 members offering a house for college kids to come back collectively, rejoice their Hispanic/Latinx cultures and educate different college students about their cultures.
Genny Lopez, a senior majoring in biology, says the membership has allowed her to discover a neighborhood of scholars the place she will rejoice her heritage and traditions.
“I’m surrounded by individuals who have related cultures, which has helped me keep linked to my roots,” says Lopez. “HLC has opened a brand new chapter in my life that I’m grateful for being part of and look ahead to persevering with to be part of after I graduate.”
Any and all college students are welcome to hitch the membership and find out about Hispanic/Latinx cultures by way of actions like salsa dancing and Día De Los Muertos celebrations. HLC additionally organizes volunteer actions in collaboration with CofC’s Office of Multicultural Student Programs and Services, the Black Pupil Union and the Asian Pupil Affiliation.
And present HLC President Pamela Painter, a senior majoring in biology, plans to maintain that momentum going by rising the membership’s outreach in the neighborhood.
“I actually need to see it increase within the volunteer facet,” says Painter, who has been concerned with the membership since her freshman yr on the Faculty. “I’m engaged on beginning a volunteer program with native public colleges.”
Painter, with the assistance of Arian Bonetto Fernandez, CofC’s Hispanic recruitment coordinator, goals to determine and join with space excessive colleges the place HLC members can mentor and tutor Hispanic and Latino college students.
“We’ve been in that place as first-generation college students and it may be actually exhausting to get began if you don’t have anybody that will help you,” says Painter of getting ready for and pursuing a school diploma. “I really feel like we will might be that bridge for these college students between highschool and faculty.”
Certainly, the HLC continues to thrive as a hub to welcome and embrace Hispanic and Latino college students on the Faculty of Charleston.
Katherine Jordan is a junior on the Faculty of Charleston, double-majoring in English and music.