New Latinx organization seeks student input

One of the newest organizations on campus was started by a student who refused to take “no” for an answer.

Maria Cristal Guzman is president of the Detroit Mercy Latinx Student Union (LSU), which officially formed this semester. The university was without such a group for nearly two years after the Latinx Student Association disbanded, and Guzman wanted to make sure there was a way to build community for Latino and Latina students on campus.

“I was not about to take ‘no’ for an answer because if I couldn’t join a community here then I would just make one myself,” she said. “And that’s exactly what I did. I asked my two other friends, Elizabeth and Mariana, if they would help me and run LSU, then we got started.”

Elizabeth Barba Villa is the group’s vice president and Mariana Fadell is the secretary.

The group’s goal is to create a safe space for students to resonate, share experiences and ultimately develop a sense of belonging.

LSU has already held its first meeting of the semester and is hoping to organize a series of events.

“In our first meeting the discussion was, what student organizations would they like to collaborate with? Are they interested in volunteer work? Are they interested in setting up a study table and what types of events would they like to see?” Guzman said. “Would they like to do off campus events? Do they need help with anything in partic- ular, would they like to get in touch with potential mentors?”

The organizers say groups like LSU are vital, especially on a small campus like Detroit Mercy. “The importance for establishing an organization for students of Latinx backgrounds is to have a support system,” Villa said.

“We are a small community within UDM and having an organization for all Latinx backgrounds is essential to explore our cultures.”

In the eyes of Guzman, it’s all about becoming a “familia.”

As the real work begins, the goal for this staff is to hear from the students on what they expect from LSU.

The organization is open to testimony to make the group fun and welcoming, while also providing support and community for students.