When I thought about writing this, I wasn’t sure what platform I should use. I haven’t mentioned my exploits as the president of LANSU (Latino Alumni Network of Syracuse University) as much on here because I try to keep work and volunteer stuff mutually exclusive. But nevertheless, some things tend to bleed over.
Once I came back to New York City, I had my heart set on being a more involved alum of SU that focused on Latin@ students. In my past, as an employee of Syracuse University, I tried my best to support any of the Latin@ students that came across my path. While that sounds like I only helped on portion of the population, I made sure that I supported all students as best I could no matter their pigment or lack there of. The point is that I know the issues and the struggles of the current student. It really isn’t so different from 20 years ago (Geez…has it been that long?).
I have been doing this for a year now and things are really coming together. I will admit I wasn’t sure how this would work out, but I have been able to find time to give back. The Latin@ Alumni are so important, not just at Syracuse, but to any school really. In many ways we are new to the game since many Latin@ students come from first generation parents. My job has been to try to get older alums in the same room as younger alums to create a connection that will help everyone involved. I think that for the most part it has been working but there is tons of work left to be done.
My main concern is the LANSU scholarship. This is a huge undertaking that will require time patience, and of course money. There are a number of alums that have told me that they did not have a particularly great experience in college. I think this is where many Alumni offices struggle with is being able to gain support while promoting this homogenous experience that portrays fun times and good spirits. I take all of that into account because in the era I was in school we were still doing sit ins at the Chancellor’s Office every time there was an announcement that tuition was going up another 3%
Now we live in a time where the tuition is about 54k and rising and student issues have not changed all the much so being able to help them in way that were not available for me or my fellow alumni is the goal.
In the mean time, I’m enjoying the many workshops we have been providing for alums to help them be successful because we all can’t do it alone. While I know that many of us had negative experiences in school we can transform those to positive experiences out of school.