Latinx Leadership Initiative Launched

Contributed by Samuel Martínez

LCI Director, Professor Diana Rios. Photo credit: Melissa Foreman

A new initiative in support of emerging student leaders involved with PRLAAC and La Comunidad Intelectual (LCI) First-Year Learning Community was announced at the Hispanic Heritage Month Alumni Meet & Greet reception, held at the Jorgensen Gallery Saturday, 21 September 2019. The event took place before that evening’s Gilberto Santa Rosa Hispanic Heritage Month special concert event at Jorgensen Auditorium. 

In her brief opening remarks, María Martínez, Assistant Vice Provost, Institute for Student Success, spoke to the students, staff and visitors in attendance. Martínez announced that her office, which oversees First-Year Programs, was developing a new collaboration with the UConn Foundation, PRLAAC and El Instituto. This initiative will aim to nurture mentorship opportunities and expand career development funding for LCI and PRLAAC students in the years to come. Both expanded mentoring opportunities for UConn Latinx alumni and a Foundation-supported fund raising drive are anticipated to focus on expanding opportunities for LCI and PRLAAC students.

PRLAAC Director Fany Hannon expressed appreciation for the dynamism and imaginativeness of Latinx student leaders. El Instituto Director Samuel Martínez spoke of a “triangle of student support” — uniting El Instituto, LCI and PRLAAC — bringing the struggle for inclusion at UConn into a third phase, in which Latinx students are not only admitted and retained but provided conditions under which they can all feel they belong at UConn and that UConn belongs to them. LCI Director Diana Rios (Instituto joint appointee with the Department of Communication) recounted the process through which she realized her dream of founding a student living community at UConn focused on intellectual diversity, inclusivity, and social activism. LCI undergraduate student Felipe Sanches spoke eloquently of his peers’ tenacious drive to succeed not just personally and career-wise but in service to their communities.

Keep an eye out for emerging details of this initiative at the Websites and Twitter feeds of El Instituto, PRLAAC, and the UConn Learning Community Program.

After the concert, Gilberto Santa Rosa (center) with ISS Assistant Vice Provost Maria Martinez and LCI students and staff. Photo credit: Renee Fournier