In the wake of the Latinx Research Hub losing its space on campus, Mi Pueblo and the undergraduate executive branch of student government's Multicultural Affairs & Diversity Outreach committee are working together to plan a space for the Latinx community.
MADO focuses on maintaining an inclusive and experience and welcoming all UNC students, no matter what background they come from. Mi Pueblo is a student organization for Latinx students on campus to spread cultural awareness and diversity amongst the UNC community and beyond.
“I am passionate about working with Latinx students because I am a Latin American studies major, and I see there is an overall need for outreach for the Latinx community here on the UNC campus," said Madison Knowles, committee member of MADO.
In the past 10 years, the Carolina Latinx Collaborative has provided resources for the Latinx community such as networking and mentorships. Throughout those 10 years, CLC and Mi Pueblo have claimed the lack of an adequate central space for Latinx students to get to know each other has held them back from increasing their exposure to students.
Student presenters at a Thursday roundtable said the need for a bigger and central space on campus is important because the amount of students that identify as Latinx is growing. 8.5 percent of undergraduate students identify as Hispanic on campus, up 0.5 percentage points from the last year.
Since 2010, Mi Pueblo has held events and meetings in Craige North Residential Hall, and the distance has proven problematic for attracting new members and retaining current ones. Craige North has become more of a common space because so many other organizations go there to have meetings.
“The current space is extremely small and isn’t officially for the Latinx community," said Mi Pueblo member Elizabeth Ordoñez. "I envision something more spacious because the current location is very small for the amount of people that we target."
This is not the first time Mi Pueblo has struggled to find space on campus. Last year, they had an office in the Student Union, but it was converted into the Greek life area. Some Latinx students feel that this decision was unfair, believing it was yet another benefit for the majority-white students who are in fraternities and sororities on campus.
“UNC does a good job at saying they want to be more inclusive, but they do not put forward the financial backing to support Latinx students once they are here,” said Theresa Flores, a graduate student at the School of Social Work. "Many spaces on campus are dedicated towards academic progression, but the University needs to also provide recognition to multicultural organizations on campus."
Members agree that the ideal location for a Latinx space on campus would be somewhere on North or central campus because many students spend the majority of their day on the upper side of campus. Favorable locations amongst the group included the FedEx Global Education Center, Peabody Hall and the Student Union.
"This is the hub of student activities and to not be on central campus makes me feel like the University does not care as much about us as they do other organizations,” said Cultural Chairperson Alysson Valverde Torres.
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