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Erick P. '17

Nov 18, 2014

Fitting in at MIT as a Latino

Posted in: Miscellaneous, Español, International Applicants, Life & Culture

I won't keep you in suspense, I feel like I fit in pretty well at MIT as a Latino. And a huge part of it is thanks to the ardent strides the MIT community takes to make everyone feel welcomed. There are plenty of Latino-centric organizations and clubs at MIT, with the Latino Cultural Center acting as the central hub for Latino students and student organizations like:

  • LUChA (La Unión Chicana por Aztlán)
  • MAES (Latinos in Science and Engineering)
  • APR (Association of Puerto Rican Students at MIT)
  • SHPE (Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers)

If that's not enough, there's other, broader organizations like the Office of Minority Education, dedicated to providing professional and academic opportunities and resources to MIT's students from minority groups.

So it's clear that MIT cares and that us MIT students care (most of these organizations are student-run) about making each other feel welcome, but an interesting question came to light at the Latino Cultural Center's annual Cena a la Seis during Family Weekend: do Latino parents feel welcome at MIT?

I won't keep you in suspense for that question either, I don't know the answer. I would sure hope so. I know my mom immediately jumped on board with MIT and even became a Parent Connector and volunteering in campus events as well as helping to welcome incoming parents. She even made a MIT Familia Facebook group to answer questions Latino MIT parents may have.

The guest speaker for the 2014 Cena a las Seis was MIT Professor Junot Díaz. He spoke about his Dominican heritage and his experiences growing up and working through college. He mentioned that one of his biggest regrets was that during his Rutgers graduation, his mother came to see him but then left right afterwards. This was the first and only time she had gone to Rutgers campus to see him. She just didn't feel welcome as part of that community. And Junot Díaz stressed the importance of making one's family also feel welcome to their child's college community. He then praised MIT for doing just that: making MIT a place welcoming to both students and parents. The Cena a Las Seis is just another example of an event for both parents and students to have fun at. And it gets bigger and better with each year.

2013 Cena a Las Seis
2013 Cena a Las Seis (photo from last year's post, This Isn't Goodbye)

 

2014 Cena a Las Seis
2014 Cena a Las Seis

 

MIT Moms
My mom with other Latina parents and Parent Connectors

 

All in all, Cena a Las Seis and the rest of Family Weekend was a lot of fun. I can't wait for the next one.

MIT family and friends
Left side: me and my family. Right side: my friend Will '17 and his family.

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