U Student Creates Latinx Student Union to Strengthen Presence on Campus


By Abhilasha Khatri, Investigative Editor


Although Latinx students currently make up the largest population of non-white students at the University of Utah, Osvaldo Miranda, third-year health, society and policy major, felt like their presence was not seen on campus enough.

He hopes to change this by starting a Latinx Student Union (LSU) at the college, which he announced on Instagram in the group’s first post.

Miranda acknowledged existing groups on campus like MEChA, TRIO and the Dream Center have been helpful to lots of Latinx students, but he believes there is still more work needed for Latinx students to be seen and involved on campus.

“I would like there to be a bigger presence,” Miranda said. “I think a Latinx Student Union is the first step in the right direction.” 

Reflecting on the alienation he felt after his transition from West High to the U, Miranda said Latinx students at the U need a place to find community. 

“I wanted to create a space for Latinx students specifically to come and meet one another because it is kind of difficult to just casually meet them on campus,” Miranda said. 

Coming from a diverse high school, Miranda said he felt out of place as a first-year honors student living in Kahlert Village, where suddenly, that diversity was not present. This, combined with a lack of in-person interaction in his first year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, made it difficult for Miranda to connect with other students. 

“I did wish that I could just meet other Latinx students,” Miranda said. “That was something that I struggled with.”

Alejandra Huerta Hernandez, second-year health, society and policy major, said she would personally be interested in joining LSU and appreciates the chance to meet other students with similar backgrounds. 

“I’ve always felt like I’m too Latinx for white people and I’m too white for my Latinx community,” Hernandez said. “I personally don’t think I’d worry about it in this sense because I’d be surrounded by people that probably feel the same way and I feel like we could find our way together.”

In addition to Miranda as one of the co-presidents, LSU announced the executive board via Instagram — Lucas Zagal as co-president, Melissa Pardo-Choza as vice president, Tyra Imbico as communications chair and Mariela Landeo as treasurer.

The group will be drafting a constitution and finding an advisor over the summer. 

Miranda said a concern he has heard from many students who are considering joining the club was being “Latinx enough.” In response, he emphasized that there was no such thing, and all people are welcome to join. 

“If that’s something that worries you, don’t let it be a worry,” Miranda said. “You’re totally welcome.”

Miranda also said he would like to make an effort to include parts of the Latinx community that often get less attention, including Latinx students from countries other than Mexico, Afro-Latinx and queer Latinx people. 

“I think those are people that kind of get left out of these discussions, so I want to make sure that from the get-go they know that they are welcomed at LSU,” Miranda said. 

As for potential events, Miranda hopes to eventually throw a “baile” — a dance celebrating Latinx culture with music and food on the scale of Crimson Nights. Other events may include game nights and socials, but Miranda said they’re welcoming suggestions from students.

“At the end of the day, we’re here to help students, so if you feel like ‘I would like us to do this thing,’ we’re open to suggestions,” Miranda said. 

Meeting times have not yet been decided, but LSU hopes to be operational by Fall 2022. 


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