Alexa Lagunas - Story of Latinas Unidas
Latinas Unidas is a Latinx student organization founded in 2004. The organization is open to all students at Harvard College and focuses on the unification of students who have a passion for or an interest in the empowerment of Latinas on campus. Latinas Unidas holds events and initiatives that aim to provide a platform for intellectual discussion and community building among its members.
The three main branches of our board that hold events are pre-professional, advocacy, and social. Pre-professional focuses on events related to building skills or connections that will be useful in creating a professional career. Some events held this semester include resume workshops/office hours and a pre-professional open house. Advocacy focuses on events that are related to contemporary issues pertaining to the Latinx community or events focused on empowerment, legislation, and anything else that brings awareness to the Latinx community. This semester, the advocacy branch set up an alumni panel with guests who have worked in the public sector to talk to current members about their experiences. The social branch focuses on community-building events that allow members to get to know each other better and bond through activities such as game nights, Valentine’s Day card-making, and self-care nights. Finance, social media, and communications are the other three branches involved in ensuring that Latinas Unidas runs smoothly. Each of the 6 branches has a Chair and an Assistant Chair, and in total there are 14 people on board. We hold elections once a year, typically after the Fall semester, and encourage anyone interested to run for a position or to nominate someone they think would be a good fit.
Since moving to a virtual platform in 2020, Latinas Unidas has been focused on holding events every 1-2 weeks that foster community building and discussion between members. Many of our board members are first or second-year students, so it is important to create an online environment that allows people to engage in conversation with students that would have otherwise not been possible since we have gone virtual. One program that Latinas Unidas does every year is pair First-Year students with upperclassmen in order to provide new students with an "Hermana", someone that they can turn to for questions, advice, and friendship.
The focus of Latinas Unidas up until now has mainly been hosting events and initiatives that build a community for undergraduate Latinx students. When I stepped into the role of Vice President, I reflected upon ways in which Latinas Unidas could extend our community beyond Harvard's campus. A common issue Latinas Unidas faces, especially now that we gone virtual amidst the pandemic, is getting more people to participate in meaningful events and activities. The pandemic has limited our options to engage in meaningful community building, we are working towards extending this community beyond Harvard’s campus through increased community engagement. My final project is a reflection of one of the ideas for which we can reach out to Boston high school students and make a greater impact in our community through engaged mentorship.