Student ambitions drive “Mi Familia,” unite university, Latino community
Event designed to connect university with Latino, Hispanic families to increase diversity
Published: Monday, April 30, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, July 24, 2012 20:07
Scenes of smiling, laughing and appreciation swept through the Memorial Union as Latino and Hispanic families took advantage of Mi Familia Weekend. For many volunteers, these moments signified the payoff of a not so easily orchestrated plan, requiring funding and hours spent translating Arlyn Moreno Luna’s dream into reality.
Much of the event can be attributed to the number of volunteers in attendance and also to Oregon State University students and co-directors of Mi Familia Weekend, Moreno Luna and AnnaRose Adams. Over the last year and a half, Moreno Luna and Adams began the process of turning Luna’s vision of Mi Familia Weekend into reality.
“We are two very persistent people, and much of our time has been spent fundraising and appealing to organizations for the event,” Adams said.
The motivation behind their efforts, according to Moreno Luna and Adams, was easing the transition into college and providing assistance for Latino and Hispanic families.
“In underrepresented and minority students, we have seen a theme; they never come to experience the campus here at the university,” Moreno Luna said.
Moreno Luna, through attentiveness to fellow students, found that many Latino and Hispanic families haven’t had opportunities to visit the Oregon State University campus. In a Mi Familia Weekend survey, Moreno Luna found that out of 24 families that participated, 21 said they hadn’t visited campus.
“Some parents can’t speak English and many events aren’t geared toward the Hispanic and Latino community,” Adams said. “This event is designed to break down the language and cultural barriers.”
The event is sponsored by groups including Minorities in Agriculture, Natural Resources and Related Science and Centro Cultural Cesar Chavez and has the backing to serve an integral role in future years. The event also received a tremendous deal of support from Larry Roper, vice provost of student affairs.
Luna and Adams both describe the event as a convergence of group activities and pertinent informative gatherings. Events ranged from breakout sessions designed for purposes of motivation and academic information, to dances and even a soccer game in McAlexander Fieldhouse for active participation. The event incorporated a resource fair with representatives from campus organizations including the University Honors College, Beaver Yearbook and ASOSU.
Additionally, Mi Familia Weekend incorporated keynote speakers including John Haroldson, Benton County district attorney. Haroldson shared his perspective as son to a Mexican mother, raised in both the Pacific Northwest and Monterrey, Mexico.
“They will see this event and they can connect with the community. Hopefully, they will be given a well-deserved opportunity to adapt,” Moreno Luna said.
Many families did appear to value the strength and gravity of the event, by responding and showing their support with positivity.
“This is the first time we have come here. The event has been good for the Latino Community and it has been well organized. Hopefully, it keeps running in the future,” said Osvaldo Contreras, father and Mi Familia Weekend participant.
The work of Moreno Luna and Adams along with fellow committee members and 45 other volunteers brought the event together and certainly received attention.
“[Moreno Luna and Adams] have put a lot of work into the event. Now their efforts have finally paid off and they have the support they deserve,” said Alejandra Marquez Loza, Mi Familia Weekend Volunteer.
Looking to the future, Adams and Moreno Luna hope the event can work its way into the START programs to come and see the event as an important part in expanding and enriching the university community.
Jack Lammers, reporter
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