Today, the Latinx Cultural Center and Latinx Heritage Month Planning Committee held the first Latinx Student Orientation in UW-Madison history.
“We just really wanted to welcome first-year and transfer Latinx students,” said Michelle Navarro, the Cultural Programming intern at the LCC.
As Latinx Heritage Month begins, the orientation serves as the first event to celebrate Latinx identities and create a safe community on campus.
“Oftentimes it is already hard enough [for students of color] to adjust to college and it’s even harder for them on a white campus, like UW,” Navarro said. “So we really wanted to make sure this orientation to centered around first-year and transfer students and to make sure they feel welcome on campus.”
Students were introduced to various resources to better navigate campus and were able to meet staff members from the Multicultural Student Center, including the Latinx Cultural Center — a new cultural center startup formed last year.
“It really opens my eyes to more opportunities and resources on campus which I had no idea about before,” said Maria Julian, a Latinx freshman who came from a small town in Wisconsin.
The orientation is also seen as part of the effort from the UW campus to foster a more inclusive environment for Latinx-identifying students.
“Growing up, I didn’t see a lot of people of color as my teachers or as mentors so seeing all the staff that are people of color and are Latinx.” Julian said.“Knowing it is possible that you can be Latinx and you can be successful, just having this role model in the community, is helping a lot."
There will be more activities throughout the month to bring awareness to individuals who identify with the Latinx community on campus.
“It is like a breath of fresh air seeing all the other Latinx,” Julian said.