All Coming Together #VamosNaranja

LANSU LogoWhen 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?).

LANSU-save the date-gold-nosaveI 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.

Money Talks v3

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The Cultivation of My Brand

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This past week I’ve been realized one thing, I am cultivating a brand. I started doing this years ago without realizing it. Once I knew what I wanted to do, I tried my hardest to be as consistent as possible.

I will admit that I had no idea exactly what I was doing but I figured being recognized under one screen name would be the best possible thing for me. This way when someone was looking for my blog they would always be able to find it. That is why my twitter and tumblr are the same. If you play me in world with friends or any game on the iphone, you will know how to find me: latinegro.

It is also that consistency that has also allowed me to have the same message. While, this particular blog tends to get personal at times. I still, for the most part, try to advocate for the recognition of Afro Latinos and to a much larger extent, Latinos. Then there is my overall feeling on the fight against racism and oppression that I have been so out spoken about. I also believe in education and easy access to it. I think that it is our responsibility to help our youth get a better education.10240G Brand Yourself

With that being said, I realize that I never mentioned how I am the president of the Latino Alumni Network of Syracuse University (LANSU). This is something that I’m very proud of but I don’t feel the need to brag about it. Quite simply, there is a lot of work to do to get this organization to where I envision it. Last week, we had our first collaborative event of 2013 that was very coincidentally called: Branding Yourself in the Global Marketplace.

While I also knew about branding myself, It was very interesting to see other people’s opinion on it. It made me reenforce what I had done the week prior to all this, which was using my ability to write to create a theme for LANSU that needs to be solidified. Quite frankly, I have never been comfortable asking for money. Even when I was a telemarketer for brief time in the late 90’s, I had trouble asking for money and that was my job! But, I have a passion for my former students at SU and for fellow alumni. My job is to bridge that gap through networking at the fulfillment of the LANSU Scholarship Fund.

I had spent the first few weeks of January really trying to get LANSU’s name out there through twitter, facebook, and Linkedin. I was in a very long meeting with Syracuse University to get what I need established. This almost lead me to forget the other side of my brand: The Latinegr@s Project. This was something that I figured was unforgivable in my book especially with Black History Month. I wanted to create a ripple in the water in a way that I have never done before.

The last time I wrote for The Huffington Post was in July of 2012. It had been weighing on me that I have access to this awesome medium and I was not taking advantage of it. While I had planned on writing my final SU based article in November, there was something about it that just fell through. It wasn’t strong enough.

People ask me all the time “How did you get to write for the Huffington Post?” Well, the answer is networking. I got lucky that I knew someone that knew someone that works for them. When the call went out for new bloggers, my name was given and I was contacted. This is one of those times when being a mentor to a fabulous person like Victoria Chan pays off. I will always be grateful for her because of this and I will always make sure I am there for her when she needs advice.

I was asked to only write about College and Higher Education topics, which I did and struggled with. I have a personal copy editor (my girlfriend) who tears my articles up, demanding I be more clear and concise. I noticed after the 3rd article I posted that there was way for me to submit a blog through Latino Voices (a branch of the Huff). I kept that in the back of my mind knowing that I will have to post about Afro Latinos one day and hopefully they will accept this.

Fast forward to last Friday. As busy as I was, I was debating on if I should even write something or wait until Monday. Most times, I would write a post and it would take a day for me to edit it and go back and forth with how good it may or may not be. I just decided to write something during my lunch hour. It was something really quick and straight forward that was barely 700 words if that. I fact checked it and sent it to my beautiful girlfriend to destroy (I tend to be vague with a lot of typos). She emailed it back with two edits! I was shocked. Later she would tell me that it was the most straight forward article I have written.

I submitted it to Latino Voices around 3pm. I was thinking that, if they do post this, it wont be until Monday. I was almost mad at myself about that because I had waited so long to write it. At 5m exactly…they posted the article. The rest has been a whirlwind of comments and praise that I was not expecting. I did a radio interview with a show out of Syracuse the very next day. It turns out to be the most read blog post I have written ever.

I was asked what was it like to create a brand for yourself? Simply put: Absolutely Amazing.