Being Latinx at a Predominately White Institution

The whole point of this blog was to talk about my experiences at a PWI and as you’ve seen, they’ve been mostly positive, but I wanted to see what someone else’s experiences have been like.

I reached out to Adrian Cruz who is a first-generation Latino student. (If you can’t remember, I described myself as a first-generation Latina student.) I didn’t know Adrian before I interviewed him, I only knew of him because we are both first-year MFOS scholars. I awkwardly reached out to him through Facebook and he was super excited to be interviewed.

I didn’t want to make it even more awkward than I already did (I’m just awkward myself) so I kept it very casual. It was more of a talk between friends rather than a strict, formal interview. I tried to ask him questions based off of what I wrote about in my posts so try to find the connections 👀

Adrian Cruz
Adrian is proud to show off his Greek letters, ΣΛB. Photo taken by Cindy Jara.

Q: What’s your name?
A: Adrian Cruz

Q: What’s your major?
A: Industrial & System Engineering

Q: Where are you from?
A: I was born in Colombia but I was raised in Miami.

Q: Are you in a fraternity? Is it an IFC fraternity or a MGC fraternity and why did you join the council that you did?
A: It’s a multicultural greek council frat: Sigma Lambda Beta. I joined because I did not feel as if I fit in the IFC community social economics, cultural, and self wise. The MGC community welcomed me to a true brotherhood, that’s also less expensive. I also get to perform and be proud of my culture.

Q: What do you identify as?
A: Definitely as Hispanic.

Q: What is, or are, your nationality/s?
A: Even though I was born in Colombia, my entire family is Cuban. I’m Cuban and Colombian.

Q: What clubs/programs are you involved in? Was it hard getting involved?
A: I’m involved with my fraternity of course. I am also a new MFOS mentor and ambassador. I also work as a HLA ambassador under MCDA. I am involved with Society Of Hispanic Professional Engineers and work as their outreach coordinator. It was hard finding the right organizations to get involved with but I think I’ve found a good balance.

Q: Do you feel the Latinx community is well-represented on campus? If no, explain.
A: Not at all. Since I work with HLA, we are currently working to increase the Hispanic Student Index which is currently at 21%.

Q: Have you found a place to call home at UF?
A: Yes! My Sigma Lambda Beta brotherhood, HLA familia and SHPE friends.

Q: Overall thoughts and opinions of being Latino at a PWI?
A: It just takes the initiative to make your home at this PWI and not let yourself get white washed. It was easy to find my casita through involvement and that’s what I recommend everyone to do regardless of race or ethnicity. There’s something there for everyone.

It was crazy to interview Adrian because we have a lot in common. We were both born in Bogota, Colombia, are are both new MFOS mentors and ambassadors. While we are in different councils, we both found a place to call home in the Greek community. Being Latinx at a PWI seems like it would be hard to fit in but there are over 50,000 students and 1,000 clubs. There’s a place for everyone at UF.

It’s definitely great to be a Florida Gator.
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