ODI unveils Latinx Student Success Center, provides space for Latino community

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The Office of Diversity and Inclusion announced the opening of the new Latinx Student Success Center located in Hale Hall Sept. 24. Credit: Courtesy of Yolanda Zepeda

Latino students can now meet with others of the same identity in Ohio State’s first Latino-centered community space.

The Office of Diversity and Inclusion announced the opening of the Latinx Student Success Center, located in Hale Hall, Sept. 24. The center is an open space where Latino students can build relationships with students and staff, Yolanda Zepeda, assistant vice provost for ODI, said.

“The idea is that for Latinx-identifying students on campus, they are dispersed all over the campus, and it is hard for them to find each other, and it’s hard for them also to recognize spaces where they can come together and really have their own culture affirmed,” Zepeda said.

Zepeda said as an open space, the Latinx Student Success Center provides opportunities for Latino students to communicate in person, including spaces to receive academic advice and coaching services.

The center enforces a limit of 20 students at a time due to the pandemic, Zepeda said.

Key programs hosted by the center include the Latinx Early Arrival Program for first-year students and an academic year leadership development program, Zepeda said. In these programs, students can identify what they need for their academic success and learn and practice strategies to help them improve their educational experience.

Monica Quezada Barrera, the Latinx Student Success coach, said her role within the center is to provide support for students. She said she works mostly with first-year students in the early arrival program.

“My job is to catch [struggles] on time in order for me to help them be successful,” Barrera said.

Zepeda said when minority students first come to an environment different from their own culture and identity, they may find it uncomfortable because they don’t see others in leadership positions who look like them. The center can help students embrace their culture.

“We really want students to understand and embrace their cultural identity and their language and culture,” Zepeda said. “They want students to bring that as strength to enrich the learning environment, not to view that as something that they need to hide.”

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