When Ana Diaz arrived in Chapel Hill as a first-year student in the fall of 2020, she wasn’t quite sure how she’d find ways to get involved with Latinx students on campus to build her community at Carolina.
And then, she discovered the Carolina Latinx Center through friends she made in Mi Pueblo, a student organization that promotes awareness of Latinx culture and issues, and made the center her spot.
“I loved the environment I was in when I was in the Latinx Center,” Diaz said. “That really inspired me to work more with them, and that’s why I applied for the student ambassador for campus collaboration position this year.”
The Carolina Latinx Center is the University’s hub for programming and support for Latinx students, faculty and staff. As a student ambassador with the center, Diaz works with 25 other UNC-Chapel Hill students in the center’s Latinx Leadership Alliance to charter a strong path forward for future Latinx Tar Heels.
The group, launched last year, brings together 10 Latinx-focused student organizations to tackle issues and challenges facing the organizations and the Latinx population. The Latinx Leadership Alliance currently consists of Mi Pueblo, Por Colombia, The Bridge publication, the Lambda Pi Chi Sorority, the Omega Phi Beta Sorority, the Lambda Upsilon Lambda Fraternity, the National Association of Hispanic Journalist, the Latino Medical Student Association, the Association of Latino Professionals for America and Student United for Immigration Equality.
“We come together twice a month to discuss bigger goals for the Latinx community on campus,” Diaz said. “Our main goal is to be one big team rather than each individual organization. We want to work as a collective team. We all have different opinions and different experiences. That diversity of ideas and thoughts comes together to make a better experience for what we want to do on campus. Our goals are about keeping the Latinx community involved.”
Erika Munguia and Alessandra Cáceres Torres, the co-presidents of Mi Pueblo, say the alliance serves as the backbone for what all Latinx organizations are working to achieve on campus. By working together, Cáceres Torres said, the student groups can build greater momentum and encourage more Tar Heels to get involved.
Among the group’s biggest objectives this year, Diaz said, is creating volunteer opportunities for Latinx students to connect with more students at Carolina and the Latinx community off campus. The alliance also hopes to find new ways to get students involved at the Carolina Latinx Center.
By engaging more students, Diaz said, the group is laying the groundwork for a better experience for future Tar Heels.
“I think about the impact that we all get to have with this alliance. I just think about the impact that it will have on future generations here at Carolina,” Diaz said. “We get to take our individual experiences on campus and collaborate to make the student experience for our Latinx peers better. We get to create something — or help create something — that will hopefully aid Latinx students.”