By Gina Ender
The arrival of 55 Latino high school students to APU on March 19 could not have been more amply timed. After months of discussion between students and staff, faculty and friends, APU was shown the truth: our campus is increasing in its ethnic differences.
The Latin American Student Association, among other ethnic organizations, has been taking great strides to gain equality and recognition, this event was different from Wanted by Walsh and Activate. While these campaigns brought attention to the needs of minority students, LSL celebrated the aspects of these students that made them different.
Having these students spend a weekend here was the best possible contribution to APU’s conversation about diversity.
In light of James 1:22, LASA “proved [themselves] to be doers of the Word” and not just hearers. The group of students took their mission and made it about helping others, making it possible for them to enact their ideals in addition to discussing them.
LASA students have undoubtedly learned about themselves and about their surroundings since coming here. This event allowed them to pass down this knowledge to the people that are precisely where they were a few years ago.
While I heard many insightful testimonies from people involved in the event, my conversation with freshman accounting major Calvin Gutierrez stuck out to me. This APU student had been in high school a matter of months ago and had already gained immense experience and knowledge about college life. His ability to house other males in his dorm and hear about their stories that were incredibly similar to his own but unique nonetheless proved to be his favorite part of the weekend.
“It definitely exposes APU to a different group of citizens that are usually overlooked just by any college or higher education establishment… diversity is always an issue in higher education because of the stigma,” Gutierrez said.
He recognizes that there is a stigma, but he is an example of someone who faced it head on and overcame it.
Let’s remember that it wasn’t long ago that we were all high school students longing for college, scared and excited and overwhelmed and thrilled for the time to come. We have the opportunity celebrate our heritages as we celebrate how far we’ve come.
Nearing the end of the semester, it’s time to seek out a community that is representative of the community we claim we want to achieve; one that is made up of different people seeking scholarship and scripture together.