The College of Wooster’s growing Latinx community now has a new space to gather and celebrate their heritage.
On Tuesday, surrounded by fellow students, the campus leaders of Latinas Unidas and the Organization of Latin American Students (OLAS), along with College administrators and allies, introduced the new Latinx Lounge and shared their sentiments on achieving the important milestone for their groups.
“This has been a long time in the making for us to have our first Latinx lounge, a space,” said Latinas Unidas Co-President and Founder Margie Sosa ’20, a political science major and Latin American studies minor from Atlanta, Ga. “I am really grateful that it being my last year we can have a space like this and it can continue on for generations.”
Sosa, a Posse Scholar, is planning to attend law school after Wooster and work towards a career that addresses inequalities in the U.S. education and immigration systems. In addition to Latinas Unidas, she also founded and serves as president of the First-Generation Student Organization.
“We are living at a time when the College is being very progressive, we have more Latinx students coming in and we are seeing the future right here in our eyes. Let’s take in this moment and enjoy it,” added OLAS President Carlos Desantiago ‘21, a theatre and dance major from Albany Park, Ill.
According to Wooster’s multi-year Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Strategic Plan, increased resources and support for students, faculty and staff from historically marginalized groups is a top priority, including finding ways to incorporate diversity and inclusion opportunities into the residential experience for all students. The establishment of the Latinx Lounge falls within that commitment and came as a result of a townhall held by the students during Hispanic Heritage Month in September.
Student leaders worked together with staff in Residence Life and Facilities to identify existing spaces on campus and make plans for renovations. In November, the Armington space was determined to provide the ideal location to accommodate the communal and programming requirements of Wooster’s growing Latinx community on campus, along the lines of the existing Q Space in Compton Hall and the Black Student Association Lounge in Douglass Hall.
“We are proud to be able to provide members of our Latinx community with a space where they can celebrate their heritage and build community,” said Dr. Ivonne García, Chief Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer. “Providing spaces that support our underrepresented and historically marginalized students is an important aspect of creating the inclusive community that The College of Wooster has pledged to continue to build and help thrive.”
Latinx students now account for more than 6 percent of all students at Wooster, an increase of 3 percent over the last decade.