Latinx @ UVA

Latinx @ UVA

Batten Latinx Network

The Batten Latinx Network (BLN) is a student organization at the Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy. The organization focuses on the recruitment of Hispanic/Latinx undergraduate and graduate students, holds professional development events such as career chats and conferences, and also communicates with Batten alumni. BLN's main goals hope to address the Batten School's Diversity Plan.

Mission:

The mission of the Batten Latinx Network (BLN) is to form a community of Latinx students at the Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy. Through this organization, the organization hopes to welcome/recruit prospective undergraduate and graduate Latinx students, to host professional development events for prospective and current students, and to maintain relationships with Latinx alumni. This network will also function to share resources to current and prospective Latinx students, such as internship information and potential job opportunities. BLN hopse to create a community-based space of Latinx students that will support one another in their academic, social, and professional pursuits. Furthermore, it aims to facilitate the discussion of policy issues relating to the Latinx community both in America and abroad.


Our Website: Website

Founding year:

Spring 2019

Founders:

Brian Zuluaga
Magdalena Ferran
Lauren Faloni
Asha Chadha

Creation:

In May 2018, founder Brian Zuluaga attended the National Conference on Race and Ethnicity in Higher Education (NCORE). It was here that he met other students from other universities dealing with the same issues found here at UVA. He says, “A lot of people of color feel marginalized—and during the conference, there was a lot of emotion amongst participants when they shared their stories. It was inspiring and empowering. It made me think, what can I do to help out the Latinx community?”

After attending NCORE, Brian learned about the importance of networks and the creation of support systems. The Batten Latinx Network’s main goals address these aspects from the NCORE experience. For example, BLN helps current Latinx students maintain relationships with Latinx alumni, which may help them with career advice or job opportunities.

Additionally, Brian learned about the significance of establishing safe spaces for our communities. Garrett Hall, the Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy’s building, can be an intimidating space. By creating a welcoming Latinx community within the Batten school, prospective Latinx students may feel more comfortable approaching the school and its opportunities.

Structure:

The organization is led by an executive board consisting of the following members:
President - oversees the running of the organization to ensure that it is meeting the mission and goals of the Batten Latinx Network. The President seeks to be a bridge between the Hispanic/Latinx community and the Batten School/Batten Administration.
Director of Alumni Engagement - responsible for reaching out to alumni to create a network in which current students and Batten graduates can share information and opportunities
Director of Undergraduate Student Relations - responsible for fostering meaningful relationships among Batten’s Undergraduate Class and students in the College of Arts & Sciences
Director of Professional Development - plans events that advance student’s career goals and help them develop skills that will be valuable when searching for internship and job opportunities
Director of Graduate Student Relations - in charge of building a relationship with Batten’s Graduate Class and help create events that will appeal to Batten’s Masters of Public Policy students.
Director of Communications - responsible for marketing and communication of the organization

Efforts:

  • The creation of BLN will address the Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy’s diversity plan. BLN will specifically target objective 1 (student recruitment), objective 4 (community development/programming), and objective 5 (network development/employer partnerships).
  • Objective 1 will be met by BLN acting as a bridge between the Batten school and other Latinx student organizations on Grounds. In the diversity plan, the Black Student Alliance is the only student organization listed. Hopefully, BLN will push partnerships between the Batten school and the Latinx Student Alliance. Latinx undergraduate students will be exposed to more Batten programs through these partnerships.
  • Additionally, graduate students will also be recruited over the long term. As a pioneer organization, BLN will push for the creation of more cultural/policy-oriented student organizations. Many renowned public policy programs across the nation have 10+ student organizations, while Batten has one or two. Graduate recruits will be more interested in Batten if there are more student organizations.
  • Objective 4 will be met by BLN advocating for Batten-sponsored events promoting diversity and inclusion, as well as inviting Latinx alumni back to Grounds for programs. Objective 5 will be met by maintaining positive relationships with Latinx alumni. These alumni will apprise Batten students about unique opportunities and also offer career advice. As stated in the diversity plan, a measure of success will be data reflecting higher student/alumni satisfaction with internship and employment experiences.
  • The first community-wide Batten Latinx Network event took place on Thursday, Jan. 24 at 6:00 pm in the Great Hall. BLN’s executive board discussed the Batten admissions process and were available to assist Latinx students interested in Batten with their applications. Through BLN, we all hope to reinforce the notion that a community exists for Latinx students at Batten, and that a diverse network of Batten students and alumni are available.

Information Collected through Interviews with program founder Brian Zuluaga (C/O 2020)