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The Value of Latino Student Networks

June 28, 2024

How College Communities Empower Success

As we gear up for a new academic year, colleges and universities prepare to roll out the welcome mat for incoming freshmen. And in a world where inclusivity is everything, schools have caught on to the fact that it’s not just about attracting diverse students – retention is the name of the game. But here’s the kicker: connecting with the Latino community can be a daunting task for higher education institutions. The cultural nuances often feel overwhelming and with the growing number of first-generation Latino college-goers, the terrain can be rough to navigate. 

In this blog, we’ll explore proven strategies for schools to grow their Latino student networks, build strong connections, and implement inclusive strategies. If your institution’s goal is to empower your Latino student population, these culture-first approaches are sure to enrich your diverse campus community and help Latinx students thrive.

Building Campfires of Community and Cultural Identity

Students who belong to a tight-knit community tend to succeed academically and emotionally. According to Chicano and Latino Studies experts at Berkeley University, campus groups can play an important role in Latino college success. In a recent article, Campos states that “When we find other people that we can connect to, who can give us that moment of feeling that we have things in common with somebody else and they celebrate the things that we do, […] that gives you that space for belonging while you figure out how you’re going to belong at the university.

 From spaces that live and breathe culture to campus-wide initiatives that champion inclusion, there’s a lot that your institution can do to celebrate diversity. For example:

  • Unleashing social media campaigns that offer emotional and cultural support when students need it most
  • Promoting user-generated content that shares first-hand experiences of Latino school pride and representation
  • Joining forces with local businesses through media collaborations that make students feel welcomed in the community at large
  • Community service programs that connect Latino students with the causes that matter to them

Elevating Latino/a Student Personal Development

Personal growth is vital for an enriching college journey. Building a network is the first step towards an excellent experience, because it helps students from all backgrounds develop the communication and interpersonal skills that’ll propel their futures.

For Latino students who may have had limited high school opportunities, the chance to explore beyond classroom collaborations is key. This is where your institution can take it to the next level and offer Latinos more than an academic experience through:

  • Extracurricular activities that resonate with Latino student passions and interests
  • Culturally-relevant campus events for students and their families
  • In-person activities that bring different perspectives together
  • Promotion of leadership opportunities through social media campaigns

Empowering and Advocating for Your Latino Students

For many Latinos, their cultural roots are the core of their very identity. To help them plant their flag and feel that they belong at school, Latino students may need leadership opportunities where they feel heard by peers, faculty, and alumni. At the same time, it’s also important for minority students to know that they have allies within the school administration.

Some ways to fire up your Latino students’ confidence and foster school pride among them include:

  • Develop communication protocols that level the playing field on campus, create equity, and amplify Latinx voices
  • Invite guest experts who represent and share their experiences with the community
  • Give students a stage to share their cultural identities with the rest of the student body
  • Provide wide access to resources and advocates who understand the Latino experience – and make sure that students know that these resources are available to them

Turbocharging Career Advancement for Latino Graduates

With networks that are 20% smaller than their white counterparts, LinkedIn data suggests that connections are essential to Latino professional success. And perhaps this explains why Latino LinkedIn members are 14.6% more likely to accept invitations from other Latino members and 47% more likely to send connection requests to other Latinos.

This is why building a strong community is crucial for Latino students to land internships and jobs after graduation. Since Latino students may have limited opportunities within their immediate circle, finding a school that connects them with seasoned professionals and alumni is key to unlocking their future success. This can be in the form of:

  • Active social media groups and platforms that can help open doors
  • Mentorship programs with role models who look like them and understand where they come from
  • Newsletters that offer career advice beyond college
  • Ongoing Latino alumni reunions to keep the community active and informed

The Long-Term Payoffs of a Strong Latino Community

Yes, building community takes time. But it’s worth the effort, both for Latinx students and the colleges that mold them. Culturally speaking, Latinos are loyal brand ambassadors who support their peers and the institutions that help them grow. 

As the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators points out, “While the concept of confianza (trust) is not unique to Latinx community, it is a resounding affirmation of the importance of representation and connection among Latinxs.” This is why, to lay down long-term roots with the Latino community, colleges and universities can:

  • Craft programs that offer extended support through the different stages of their students’ careers
  • Continue to advocate for the community’s needs and develop programs that support an inclusive campus environment
  • Facilitate online and offline opportunities for Latino students to stay connected with the community
  • Maintain a relationship with Latinx student families beyond graduation

Let the World Know that You Stand with Latino Students

Because building strong Latino networks is crucial for students, it should also be a priority for colleges. By rolling out marketing campaigns that showcase your unwavering support for the community and Latino higher education, your institution can create unbreakable bonds that attract and retain Latinx students.

If your school is ready to build a supportive and inclusive culture for Latino students, Moira Studio is here to help. Our inclusive strategies and cultural expertise can deliver impactful results that boost your enrollment rates and bring awareness to your inclusive school culture. Reach out today and let’s talk more about the power of Latino higher education.

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