Governors State University officially launched its Latinx Resource Center (LRC) with a ribbon cutting ceremony on Feb. 2.
GSU President Cheryl Green and Emmanuel Lopez, the LRC’s first director, headed the list of dignitaries who attended the ceremony.
The LRC initiative is part of the university’s approach to meeting the needs of the expanding Hispanic student community. At present, GSU’s Hispanic undergraduate enrollment stands at around 20%.
This enrollment level marks the university as an emerging Hispanic Serving Institution. The Department of Education standards indicate that upon reaching a 25% enrollment threshold, GSU will receive official designation as a Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI), becoming one of 31 in the state.
Lopez heralded the center’s launch amid Chicago’s nearly 50% Latinx public school population. As a first-generation college attendee, Lopez sees the Latinx Resource Center as pivotal in guiding Latinx students’ post-secondary choices.
Lopez holds leadership roles with the United States Hispanic Leadership Institute and the Chicago Board of the Hispanic Alliance for Career Enhancement. He is a native of Harvey and a long-time resident of Glenwood.
As the LRC’s director, he said he is excited about advancing support for Hispanic/Latinx students at GSU. Lopez emphasized the importance of increasing awareness about the university and its efforts to uplift Hispanic/Latinx students.
He expressed a desire for GSU to emerge as a central place for promoting Latinx student achievement, emphasizing the need for deliberate and focused actions to achieve this goal.
The LRC will offer a diverse array of programs every semester, catering to student needs both in-person and virtually. Programs include personalized advising sessions, regular professional and cultural workshops, virtual informational sessions tailored for prospective students, empowerment presentations for high school students and dedicated support for undocumented/DACA individuals.
Other attendees at the ceremony included Dr. Juan Andrade, Elena Andrade, GSU Trustee Jim Kvedaras and GSU Vice President Paul McGuinness.
Chandana Mandadi is a staff writer for the GSU Phoenix.