Newcomers to MSU welcomed by hispanic community
Criminal justice senior Leo Ornelas didn’t know where to turn in his transition from Mexico to the United States.
Certain resources at MSU, like the College Assistance Migrant Program Scholars Initiative, helped Ornelas adjust.
He spoke of his upbringing and how the CAMP program helped him eventually excel in his college career at the annual welcome reception for incoming Latino students on Tuesday. The reception was hosted by Culturas de las Razas Unidas, or CRU, an organization for MSU’s Latino students.
As keynote speaker, Ornelas emphasized how crucial it is to be aware of the resources available to you.
“I thought to make it in life you just had to believe in yourself and everything would fall into place, and that was very naive of me,” Ornelas said. “Because life is about opportunities and taking advantage of them.”
In many cases, Latino students come from places, such as Texas and Mexico, and face culture shock upon arriving in Michigan. CRU introduces students to various resources and opportunities offered in order to succeed academically and socially.
Although CRU is a Latino-influenced cultural group, it is open to any student who wishes to be a part of the organization.
Food industry and management sophomore Ameko Stevenson, CRU’s ASMSU representative, said the reception was targeted towards incoming freshmen to help introduce them not only to CRU, but to other affiliates and organizations on campus.
“It’s meant to introduce them to their resources as Latino students because they’re one of the lowest populations here on campus,” Stevenson said. “Also, to introduce them to professionals who work here on campus, whether it be professors, advisors, or OCAT aides.”
For example, several Latino sororities and fraternities were in attendance, such as Lambda Theta Alpha and Omega Delta Phi.
Knowing what resources are available to minority groups on campus can help incoming students feel at home, even during a challenging transition, Ornelas said.
“You will always need to take advantage of the opportunities that come along in life. Sometimes they might seem intimidating, hard and impossible, but you’ll never know unless you try.” Ornelas said.