Leaders learn about UIC Latino students’ experience

Timothy Killeen

President-designate Timothy Killeen (left) and President Robert Easter (far right) talk with Latino students and staff Wednesday at LARES. Photo: Joshua Clark/UIC Photo Services

 

They started with tamales.

Current University of Illinois president Robert Easter and President-elect Timothy Killeen had a lunch-hour meeting Wednesday with UIC Latino student leaders.

In the office of Latin American Recruitment and Educational Services (LARES), the two educators and 17 students from 18 organizations had a chatty exchange about the Latino student experience at UIC.

Although Latinos make up more than 25 percent of UIC undergrads, Rosemarie Dominguez said that as a freshman she felt on her own at first, commuting to campus, attending class, then going to work.

That changed when she discovered the Latino Cultural Center, said Dominguez, a student in the Urban Public Policy Fellowship Program. “I ended up building a small group of friends. Now when I meet a freshman, I take the initiative,” she said, telling the student how to get involved.

Saul Garcia had a similar experience, with LARES as his vehicle to engaging in campus life after transferring to UIC from a city college. “It’s possible for students to feel lonely — LARES is working to change that,” said Garcia, a member of Latino Educators United for Change.

Killeen, who earlier urged the students to “be excellent,” told the group, “I’m trying to learn as much as I can about UIC. I want to be excellent, too.”

Students asked the two university leaders about their views on diversity.

“It’s one of the wonderful things about this city,” Easter said.

“The more you have, the better decisions you get,” Killeen said.

 

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