ABOUT INVOLVEMENT AND CONNECTION TO THE LATINA/O/X COMMUNITY
Becoming a member of a student organization, attending events, or becoming a student leader gives you an opportunity to meet new people, learn more about yourself, and develop leadership and organizational skills that will help you succeed after college. The UMCP Latinx community offers many opportunities to engage with others.
QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
Q: Where do I find Latina/o/xs on campus?
A: Latinxs are found all around campus! You can meet many Latinxs through the student organizations' general body meetings and events. General body meetings are open to the public and feature activities and networking opportunities for students. You do not have to be Latino/a/x to participate. Each organization has different interests, so you might see some students who attend one, or more than one. The Office of Multi-Ethnic Student Education has a computer lab where many students come to check email, do homework, ask tutors etc. The Office of Multicultural Involvement & Community Advocacy is where students can meet with their organization advisors or just relax in the lounge area. Several Latino/a/x student organizations have offices located in the Student Involvement Suite at the Adele H. Stamp Student Union – Center for Campus Life, where office hours are held. Also, by attending a lecture, presentation or discussion on the Latino community you may be able to meet other Latinxs in the community. Welcome events such as the LUL Bienvenida or LSU Welcome Back BBQ are just a couple of examples.
Q: How do I join an organization?
A: Each student organization has different membership processes, but none are difficult. Each organization should offer a membership application, or a way to sign up to a listserv or mailing list. Student organizations have a constitution located in the Student Involvement Suite in the Stamp Student Union that indicates how one becomes a member of an organization. Check with any organization’s executive board member on how to join. Again, Latino/a/x-based organizations are open to the public and do not discriminate. In fact, many enjoy a diverse membership.
Q: What types of Latino/a/x organizations are out there?
A: Latinxs have many different cultural, social, and professional interests that are represented by the diverse types of organizations here at the University of Maryland. At-large organizations are open to the public and offer a variety of social, cultural, and political programs and opportunities. Fraternities and Sororities are organizations that follow college Greek systems and have their own areas of interest. There is a more involved process of membership in order to become a member of a Greek organization, which depends on that particular group. Specialized organizations focus on a specific area of interest such as a newspaper or professional organization. It’s also important to know there are organizations that may not necessarily be Latino/a/x focused, but touch on Latino/a/x issues. The Multiracial / Biracial Student Association offers a space for students who identify as being multiracial. True Colors of Maryland (TCOM), a group within the Pride Alliance, provides space for multicultural students in the LGBTQ community.
Q: What kinds of Latinxs are here on campus?
A: Latinxs come from so many different areas and have just as many backgrounds and influences. Some are born in the United States, others immigrated, and still others are here as international students. Each of these groups carries their own diversity of race, gender, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, and major of interest. It’s this opportunity to meet and interact that makes college such an enjoyable and rich learning experience. Many times you’ll come across Latinxs who differ from you and it can be intimidating, but many times it just takes an open-mind and willingness to work across difference to create strong relationships!
Q: What are the biggest events I should attend on campus?
A: There are so many things to do on campus, and we probably cannot fit all of it in one handbook. But, to get you started, the following is a small list of events that are the most visible and widely known events that take place throughout the year.
Career & Job Fairs - www.careercenter.umd.edu
Maryland Day - www.marylandday.umd.edu
Homecoming - www.homecoming.umd.edu
Latinx Heritage Kickoff Festival - http://thestamp.umd.edu/LHM
Lambda Upsilon Lambda Bienvenida - http://thestamp.umd.edu/LHM
Unity Welcome - https://omse.umd.edu/events
All-Niter - www.thestamp.umd.edu/allniter09
First Look Fair - www.thestamp.umd.edu/firstlookfair
Art Attack - www.see.umd.edu
Q: Where can I go to speak Spanish?
A: Latinos can be bilingual, monolingual, English dominant, or Spanish dominant. If you would like to meet others who speak Spanish there are language houses that host round-tables where you can practice your Spanish. Many student organizations speak Spanish as well. The best way is to meet as many people as you can and ask if they speak Spanish.
NAVIGATING THE CAMPUS
The University of Maryland, College Park is one of the largest universities in the area. Knowing where to go and what’s out there may be challenging. Here is some information that can help you get to know your campus.
Q: Do I have to live on campus?
A: No, you do not have to. UMCP offers a variety of services for those who live on campus and those who do not. Large portions of students commute from various places outside campus who live with their families or rent as well. There are offices and services that can help you stay connected to what is going on campus. Subscribing to mailing lists, reading publications, and staying connected with organizations, faculty and staff can be an effective way to know what is happening and housing options.
Q: Where can I find Latinx advisors?
A: Advisors, mentors, and counselors may offer some more personal help or just interaction. There are different types of formal advising you can seek out. Academic advisors (provided by your college) can help you with navigating academic concerns. The Counseling Center offers counseling for personal and emotional concerns. The Writing Center helps you with writing texts and documents for classes. La Familia is a Latinx-based peer mentoring program in which juniors and seniors help freshmen and sophomores learn about UMCP. Finally, the STARS Peer Mentoring Program of OMSE can help you year-round. There are Latinx community advisors, faculty and staff, who have strong connections with students and organizations. Many of them serve as organization advisors and provide other forms of assistance to Latino/a/x students and others just relate to a particular student because of their background or academic/research interest. This handbook provides a directory of people who are always willing to offer some advice, direction, or simply someone to talk to about your experience in college. These allies are also connected with opportunities for you to learn and become involved. When looking for advisors consider a few things. If you want a professor, see if s/he is tenured faculty and what kind of research they do. Also, see how frequently they want to meet with you and see if you can set up goals together from the first meeting. If you are looking for a peer helper, look at some aspects such as if you two share the same major or belong to the same school or college. Also, ask about his or her involvement on campus and student organizations and research programs.
Q: Are there classes about Latinos at UMCP?
A: Yes, there are many courses offered across many different colleges and departments. Many courses are in the Spanish and Portuguese Department, but others can be found through the Schedule of Classes in American Studies, Comparative Literature, English, and Education Counseling and Personnel Services, History, and U.S. Latino Studies. A full listing of Latino/a related courses are provided in this handbook. Currently, you can learn about Latin American studies through the Latin American Studies Center and about U.S. Latinos through the U.S. Latino Studies Minor Program. There is also a Latino/a/x Studies Working Group that provides opportunities to learn about new research about Latinos.
Q: How can I know what is going on if I work when not in school?
A: Well, becoming an active member of a student organization can help, also reading student publications starting with the Diamondback and La Voz Latina, and check the website of the university regularly. One on-line subscription that keeps you informed about Latino related events, programs and community opportunities is the Nuestra Comunidad newsletter. There are numerous email mailing lists you can subscribe to, depending on your areas of interest.
Q: Are there offices that support Latino/a/x students?
A: The two primary support offices of Latinxs are the Office for Multicultural Student Involvement and Community Advocacy (MICA) and the Office of Multiethnic Student Education (OMSE). Some colleges have an office or department that serves identity-based populations, such as the Center for Minorities in Engineering. For Latino/a/xs who are part of the LGBT Community or are questioning or exploring their sexuality, contact the Office of LGBT Equity.
Of course academic learning is the centerpiece of your experience here at UMCP. Maintaining a strong Grade Point Average and consistency will be the key to success after college. Aside from our own aptitude to learn there are skills and techniques, and often routines that strengthen our ability to succeed academically. Here are just some reminders to keep in mind in college.
Q: Should I go to my professor’s office hours? What is that for?
A: Absolutely! You should build the habit to go to your professors’ office hours in order to get further explanation on homework questions, explanation about any major difficulty in the class, explore research possibilities, and create mentorship about your career and future goals. Ultimately, you want to build a respectful friendship that, upon a successful academic development, could lead into recommendation letters.
Q: Where can I go for tutoring?
A: Tutoring is a way for you to get feedback and build confidence on your knowledge. It is also a great way to discuss with peers about common professional interests. There are many places on campus where you can get tutoring, such as:
- OMSE has tutors for a variety of classes. These services are Free and walk-ins are welcome. For further information, check www.omse.umd.edu or call 301.405.5615 – Hornbake 1101 (South entrance)
- The Writing Center offers free assistance with any undergraduate writing assignment. For more information call 301.405.3785 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
- IED Intensive Educational Development Program provides tutoring services for eligible University of Maryland students. For more information, check www.aap.umd.edu/about-ied-sss
- AXE (Alpha Chi Sigma) – Chemistry Honor Society The local chapter of this student chemistry organization conducts evening help sessions, including free tutoring for CHEM 103 and CHEM 113 students. Go to Chemistry Building – Room 1403 or Call 301.405.1862.
- Chemistry Teaching Assistants are available in the Chemistry Building,
Room 1115 during daytime hours to assist students
- Math Tutoring – Math Building, Room 0301
- Tutoring@umd.edu. This site on the main university page describes a comprehensive list of tutoring services on campus. www.tutoring.umd.edu
Q: What tips do you have for me to get good grades?
A: 1. Study in a place that works best for you.
2. Time management is one of the most important steps to be successful anywhere. Set a schedule for yourself and stick with it. Use an on-line or paper calendar to keep all of your classes, meetings and other engagements organized.
3. Avoid procrastination. Manage your time wisely, plan ahead.
4. Use office hours. The sooner you start a relationship with professors, the easiest it is to approach them for help.
5. Study in groups if it really helps. Use your classmates as a resource and support.
6. Do not be afraid to ask for help.
7. Schedule some personal time for yourself. Step back, catch a breath, and clear your mind. Then, continue your journey.
8. Get involved in the community. This is a way to take a break from schoolwork and help the Latino/a community.
9. Prepare for exams in advance. Give yourself enough time to study in advance, meditate, and get ample sleep the night before.
10. Know what your Professors and Teacher Assistants expect from you. The sooner you learn what you need to do to succeed the better is it to get a good grade.
Q: What awards are available?
A: At first glance, awards may not seem like an important part of academics, or may seem rather conceited to pursue. But students put in a lot of work to make high accomplishments. Awards also provide employers a sense that you are not only successful, but allowed others to see the great work you do. Below is a list of awards the university offers:
- La Raza Unida Award presented to the senior class student who has contributed most significantly to the advancement of the Latino/a student community at Maryland and the general interest of the University. Candidates must be nominated for this award in February.
- Order of Omega Greek Leader of the Year
- Order of Omega Greek Chapter President of the Year
- Office of Multi-Ethnic Student Education Award
- Office of Multi-Ethnic Student Education Martin Luther King Community Service Award
- Kirwan Award
- Byrd Citizenship Prize
- William H. Elkins Award