ALAS President on Latinx Heritage Month
As Governors State University wraps up its celebration of LatinX Heritage month, Association of Latin American Students (ALAS) President Edith Martinez reflects on the university's dedication to honoring LatinX cultures and helping students succeed.
“Honestly as a LatinX individual, I really appreciate that the university has given us the opportunity to feel included,” said Martinez, who was born in Blue Island to parents who are from Mexico.
Martinez, an Elementary Education major slated to graduate in 2023, recognized GSU’s commitment to this kind of diversity when she came to the university as a first-generation student. She saw how GSU had various forms of support to help steer students like her in the right direction. Even though she didn’t know what to expect or how to navigate her new life in higher education, an advisor walked her through everything she needed to know, she said.
“I just loved the way my advisor explained everything, from what it meant to be in my program and the courses I could take to the other options I had,” she said. “It was really helpful.”
Outside the classroom, she turned to ALAS for more opportunities to network and build relationships with other spanish-speaking students. Once she got involved, she not only gained a community, but more resources geared toward making her a better teacher.
“Being a part of ALAS always exposes you to so many available resources,” she said. “The advisor of our organization hosts a lot of sessions to help us find jobs and instill leadership skills.”
When asked what LatinX Heritage Month means to her, she said it’s a time for her to appreciate the diversity within the LatinX community.
“Being a part of ALAS, I’ve gotten to learn so much from a lot of my club members and where they come from,” she said. “So when I hear the term LatinX, I’m reminded of what we all bring to the table.”
Even those who don’t identify as LatinX can celebrate, Martinez reminds community members. How? By asking questions.
“You can get to know people at school or work and try to understand more about Latin American culture and history.”