Latino Research Center hosts first "La Bienvenida" event
The aroma of Latino cuisine, the melody of Latino music and the sounds of English and Spanish being spoken filled the air at the La Bienvenida Reception, an event hosted by the Latino Research Center. Leo Ramos, CEO of the second largest television network in Mexico, Television Azteca, spoke of education and gave advice for college students mingled with a narrative of his own experiences in school.
The La Bienvenida reception was the first of events the center will host every semester, said Emma Sepulveda, foundation professor of foreign languages and literatures and director of Latino Research Center.
The receptions are aimed at allowing Latino students to create relationships with their fellow Hispanics, as well as bringing about reforms for the Latino students on campus.
"We wanted for Latinos who work and study on campus to come together as a cohesive group so we can make changes we want to make on campus," Sepulveda said.
Sepulveda also wanted to show both non-Latinos and Hispanics what the center does.
"There was information about events, people could see the journal and meet board members," Sepulveda said. "It's also a way for non-Latino people to understand what we're about."
Many students and faculty attended the reception out of sheer curiosity and the desire to network with other Latino students and employees.
"I came just to see the Hispanic community and students," said Araceli Martinez, program coordinator at the Center for Student Culture and Diversity.
Ramos is a strong advocate of education and the rights of Latinos in the community. Ramos serves on several committee boards including the Board of Trustees at the St. Mary's hospital, a committee board at Mariposa, the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and the Reno-Sparks Chamber of Commerce.
Ramos also heads an Azteca America station in Reno.
"Any new immigrant population's priorities are education, workplace opportunities and health," Ramos said. "I believe the Latino community is underserved in all three areas."
His activity within the Latino community was part of the reason he was chosen to be the guest speaker at the first La Bienvenida Reception, Sepulvida said.
"I was so impressed with his unwavering commitment to education," Sepulveda said. "He will do anything to help people understand that education is the only key to a future."
Ramos' speech addressed the importance of education, especially within the Latino community. The UCLA Cum Laude and Harvard law graduate emphasized the need for desire, money and love to assist students in their quest for higher education and for the development of their careers.
"Remember about your passion, you'll need it," Ramos said. "If you don't, you'll find it easy to be diverted. There are many bumps, detours and changes in direction."
He advised the students in the audience to find a mentor who would give them the advice and the push they needed, just one had done for him. Ramos also spoke of the importance of money and the help that loans, scholarships, or grants can provide.
"Invest in yourself," Ramos said. "Work and borrow and you will get through. Don't be afraid of debt."
He encouraged students, teachers and faculty alike to give to their community and be willing to help others.
"If we don't contribute, we won't succeed," Ramos said.