President Michelle Moore talks about her experiences leading a diversity organization at a Predominantly White Institution
The Facebook page of CNU’s Latino Student Association, also known as LSA, reads, “Latino Based. Not Latino Exclusive. Everyone is welcomed!”
LSA is a vibrant organization that truly embodies that statement in all they do at Christopher Newport.
“We’ve been redoing our mission statement and working on our club because it’s definitely really hard to have at a PWI (Predominantly White Institution),” said Michelle Moore, president of LSA for the 2018-2019 school year.
“Our purpose is to educate the community about Latin American culture, promote diversity, celebrate Latin American culture and work with other minority groups and also to enrich the culture at CNU.”
Moore feels that it is extremely important to educate the CNU community about the Latin American community.
Due to CNU’s population of mostly white students, the presence of diversity organizations such as the Black Student Union (BSU) and the Student Diversity and Equality Council (SDEC) are extremely important.
As one of CNU’s several diversity organizations, LSA seeks to provide all students with education and appreciation for all things Latin American.
While LSA mainly focuses on bringing Latin American culture to the culture of CNU, they are largely an education-based organization which seeks to inform students and bring awareness to pressing issues that Latino individuals face.
“We had an [immigration] event the other week where we were in the plaza with different tables where we had different information on particular subjects that we decided to focus on,” she said. “We had four different tables, and each table had a subject. We had Mexican-themed candies and we taped each one to a notecard which had facts about LSA and us as a club.”
The club also set up different informational tables about ICE (Immigration Customs Enforcement), DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) and the immigration process that immigrants go through to reach U.S. citizenship.
“We wanted to eliminate misconceptions that people have about minorities, especially immigrants in today’s society, since that’s a big topic,” Moore said.
“We’ve learned a lot and we’re hoping to help other people really get the facts because there are so many facts out there where people think ‘Oh, immigrants don’t have to pay taxes. Illegal immigrants don’t have to pay taxes.’ They do. A lot of times, when they experience injustice and discrimination, it’s because people have either the wrong idea about them or they have incorrect or false facts about them. Obviously, we want to treat everyone with love and care.”
Moore, whose mother is Peruvian, has found a sense of belonging within the Latino Student Association and within it, she cultivated her passion for Latin American culture.
Her experiences going from a regular member her freshman year to the treasurer and finally president of the organization in her senior year have helped her share that passion with other students.
When asked why she first wanted to get involved with LSA, she said, “I’m just not a Greek Life person.”
LSA became her niche throughout her time here at CNU, and as she prepares to graduate, she hopes that the organization will continue to grow in the coming years.
“This club has really meant a lot to me,” she said.
The Latino Student Association is always looking to expand its reach within Christopher Newport’s campus and to get as many interested students involved as possible.
“We are open to anyone who would like to join. We’d love support from anyone. You don’t, by any means, have to be Latino or of Latin American descent to join,” Moore said.
This makes the club more available, inclusive and open to all who are interested in getting involved.
“People might feel like they have to be [Latino], but we just want people who are passionate about [the culture] who want to teach others, celebrate and educate and also help our community.”
~Anna Dorl, Lifestyle Editor~