Massachusetts Daily Collegian

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A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

Latinos Unidos connects Latinx students on the UMass campus

The group provides an outlet to build Latinx relationships and community.
Shilpa Sweth

Latinos Unidos (LU), a cultural Registed Student Organization, has been uniting Latinx students on the University of Massachusetts campus through their meetings and events.

Founded in 2011, LU was created as a united group between Casa Dominicana and Boricuas Unidos. According to senior public health major Michelle Ngyuen, the president of LU, “our founders wanted a group that welcomed all Latin American cultures on campus. We have kept up with those traditions and always keep in mind our wonderful alumni that worked hard to have us be the strong organization [that] we are today.”

LU hosts biweekly general body meetings as a way to connect Latinx students and anyone interested in the organization. These meetings are announced a week in advance and are held in the Malcom X Cultural Center, near Berkshire Dining Commons. Senior psychology major Nicolle Gudiel Winter, an event coordinator, said that the biweekly meetings usually have a theme to drive the discussion. “The meetings are not necessarily a conversation or discussion, but more so interactive with the aim to provide our Latinx community with a safe space to meet and get to know each other,” she added.

Their next general body meeting is on Oct. 23. The theme is yet to be announced.

According to Winter, the event coordinators are in charge of the general body meetings with the help of the executive board. They are open to feedback and want to cater the meetings and the events to the community.

“Our goal is to be as inclusive, loving and as supportive as we can be and to unite as many people across campus,” Nguyen said.

Additionally, LU hosts many bigger events throughout the school year. In September, they held their Berk party, but now the group is looking forward to planning Noche Latina. This event is typically held in the Campus Center Auditorium and is taking place on Thursday, Dec. 7. According to Winter, the night is to bring students together through food, performances and music. The theme for Noche Latina will be revealed soon.

HASA Casa, another big event in collaboration with the Haitian Student Association, happens in April.

Tickets for these events are released around two weeks before it takes place. The events are open to everyone and the details, such as times and locations, are posted on LU’s social media. The bigger events like Noche Latina and HASA CASA are catered by local or student run businesses. Nguyen added, “we try to keep our plans a surprise for the general public, but we have some exciting caterers in mind this semester.” LU does multiple fundraisers to finance their events and they plan on hosting a few soon.

LU is a place for students to connect with people who share the same heritage, as well as a way to educate students about Latin culture. Throughout the meetings and events, students are able to create a tight knit community.

Susanne Garcia Soto, a senior animal science major and a member of LU’s public relations team, said, “LU means to me that I have a family on campus… PR is a way to show the rest of the world what Latinx culture is and what makes us so unique. The contributions give us a platform to say ‘Hey! We’re actually here and our community is bigger and stronger than it seems.”’

Additionally, Soto stated that the group wants to get involved and collaborate with other cultural groups within the Five College Consortium. “They send us flyers and we need to collaborate, I’m excited,” she said.

Any student interested in joining LU can do so through their Campus Pulse account and by following their social media, @umassLU on Instagram, where they post updates about their events, meetings and more.

“My favorite part is the community that builds over time,” Nguyen said. “Being a part of LU, you get to see a growth of people meeting each other and making friends. You see people go to their first general body meeting alone and then they’re leaving with so many other people.  It’s so heartwarming to me, just being a member in general is really nice. Everyone in LU is bringing the same thing you are, bringing inclusivity. I love our community, it is so welcoming.”

Sydney Warren can be reached at [email protected]

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