'La Bienvenida' event helps Latino campus groups provide welcome
A "La Bienvenida" (The Welcoming) social will help the University of Nevada, Reno's Latino Research Center gather ideas to assist and create networking opportunities for new and current Latino students, faculty and staff on campus, 4 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 29 in the William Raggio Building.
Several University student organizations, including the Latino social fraternity, Nu Alpha Kappa, and the Latina sorority, Kappa Delta Chi, will provide food items from a variety of Latin American countries. Club representatives will also answer questions about their organization's function and mission.
"At this event, students and professors are able to meet and start a network," said Jessie Klenke, student worker for the Latino Research Center. "Latino groups on campus can also share their upcoming events."
Officials at the center hope that La Bienvenida will provide a comfortable and open space for the campus community and the general public to voice any concerns regarding issues that are affecting them.
"We hope that La Bienvenida will be a fun, relaxed get-together not only for Latinos and Latinas, but for anyone interested," said Bethany Teveldahl, a research assistant at the center.
Among students of color, Hispanics/Latinos are the largest group both in Nevada and on campus. In figures collected for the Fall 2007 semester, University enrollment data show 17.5 percent of the total 16,681 students identify themselves as students of color. These 2,922 students included 1,207 students of Hispanic/Latino descent. The University also enrolled its highest number of freshman students of color. Some 206 of these students identify themselves as being of Hispanic/Latino descent. The University also retained 78 percent of its new, full-time Hispanic/Latino freshmen from Fall 2006 to Fall 2007.
"It is great to know that more people from many different races, cultures and backgrounds are gaining access to higher education and that a large percentage of them continue to study after their freshman year," Teveldahl said.
Teveldahl also said that participation and interaction with other students on campus and in the classroom is very important to the University experience because it promotes communication and understanding between people of different races, cultures and traditions. It also creates a better-rounded classroom where various people can share their knowledge, thoughts and opinions and learn from one another, she said.
"Every Latino and Latina organization has a lot to offer and it's time that we all start communicating so that we can be more connected, involved and supportive of one another," Teveldahl said.
La Bienvenida is held in the William Raggio Building, room 2028. For more information, contact the Latino Research Center at (775) 784-4010.