A new Hispanic leadership council at UCF, Juntos, is working to unite the Hispanic community on campus.
Juntos is a leadership council where all the presidents of each registered student organization who have a relationship to the Hispanic community attend meetings to brainstorm, co-host events or share their practices.
Zaria Woods, one Juntos member, says she joined the council indirectly. Woods is an executive board officer for the Puerto Rican Student Association. Because she is a leader for her organization she was sent to be a part of Juntos.
When she found out that it encompassed the organizations while also allowing each individual Latino-based organization autonomy, she liked and respected it.
According to the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, as of spring 2017, UCF is an emerging Hispanic-serving institution, meaning it has a total Hispanic undergraduate enrolled student population of at least 25 percent. In the fall 2017 semeter, 45.8 percent of UCF students were minorities and 24.9 percent identified as Hispanic.
Talks of the leadership council began last summer and they are continuing to help not only Hispanic students, but other organizations at UCF.
“I think that Juntos will unite all the different Latino-based organizations at UCF to create a more official and beneficial community for all of Latinos that have yet to be seen here at UCF,” said Fernan Gregorio, a member of Juntos.
This semester, Juntos is focused on advocacy and helping students access more opportunities with enhancing the multicultural programming on campus.
One way they are moving towards this is by being a support system for Hispanic organizations at UCF to become registered student organizations and provide any resources that may be necessary for the process.
“We are on the path to become a Hispanic-serving institution, and although it is a title, I wanted to join Juntos because we want to create program and initiatives that not only serves the Latino Hispanic community, but serves the UCF community as a whole,” Woods said.
Juntos also partnered with the Latino Faculty and Staff Association to organize the Hispanic Heritage Month for UCF.
“We wanted to have a voice for Latinos at UCF to make sure during that whole decision making process the voice of the students is implemented in the whole decision making process,” Sauri said.