Meeting a milestone

Finding a welcoming community

 It has been five years since the first opening of the Center for Latin@ Studies in the IRC and on Wednesday, April 11, in celebration of that milestone, the IRC was congratulating not only students but faculty for their success in the program thus far. 

Ferris alum and executive director of CLS Kaylee Moreno was originally a student co-founder of the office. 

“Latino students didn’t feel like they had a place to belong on campus or that we really had a space to find one another and connect, in that collectivistic cultural value students have intrinsically. We know that means a lot, so we wanted to create a counter space—which is what this office is—so that students can connect and tell their home stories, to speak Spanish and do that freely and to celebrate their culture,” Moreno said. 

The anniversary represented many forms of Latin heritage, with music from Los Perros Cubanos, celebrating Cuba’s popular music from the 1940s and 50s, as well as Latin food. The event also featured testimonials from students on their journeys to attending Ferris. 

Ferris construction management first year Rogelio Nino Vazquez has found the CLS office to be a home away from home. 

“To me, the anniversary was special because it is a milestone for a place that has been home to many Latino students. Seeing that the center has been around for five years gives me hope that more and more students will be coming to Ferris thanks to some of the programs that the center offers, such as the Promesa Summer Success program,” Vazquez said. 

CLS offers three programs to the community and students. Promesa Avancemos and Promesa Summer Success help the community, with Promesa Avancemos focusing on growth among seventh and eighth graders, and Promesa Summer Success helping high school juniors and seniors prepare for college. The Promesa Scholars Program is a redeveloped program that was re-offered this year. 

“We have students constantly in and out of our office, just trying to understand what are the right questions to be asking, who should they be going to for these resources, how do they connect and understand what’s going on in the campus community so that they can be successful. So what we do and what the compass really represents is we try to help navigate those different spaces. We help students understand the language, the processes, the systems,” Moreno said. 

Ferris nursing junior Angelica Ross was one of the students helping with the anniversary. 

“The Center of Latin@ Studies was a place for me to go when I didn’t have anyone to talk to when I first got to Ferris. This organization has made me get out of my comfort zone and meet new people,” Ross said.

Center for Latin@ Studies

Hours of Operation: 

  • Monday: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. 
  • Tuesday — Thursday: 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. 
  • Friday: 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Contact Information:

(231) 591.2470


1301 S. State Street, IRC 131, Big Rapids

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