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Finding Comunidad at Harvard

One of the highlights of my freshman year is the Latinas Unidas board retreat in the fall semester because I was able to get to know the rest of the members and make lasting friendships. Adjusting to a new place can be pretty difficult for any freshman, and I found myself having a tough time coping with being homesick as well as adapting to the transition to college classes. During the introductory meeting of the Latinas Unidas club, a group for all identities to come together for the empowerment of Latinas, I was able to find an organization that allowed me to pursue something that I cared about while also allowing me to meet some incredible people. The other members of the organization not only understood some of the struggles I had been facing, but they also provided me with advice to help me during that time.\

 

 


The Latinas Unidas board members posing for a picture at the Holiday party.
Above: Finding comunidad at Harvard

    During that first meeting, I also discovered that Latinas Unidas holds the Latina Empowerment and Development Conference each year, and that they were looking for board members to help plan the conference. I had absolutely zero experience with conference planning, but I knew that I wanted to help in any way that I could since I felt that this conference would help increase Latina visibility and allow for us to demonstrate just how much Latinas can accomplish. I ended up applying for a position on the LEAD board, and became the Associate Director for Operations. While helping to put on a conference helped me gain many skills, my favorite part was the friendships that I made during the process.


The board members for the Latina Empowerment and Development Conference pose for a fun picture.
Above: This photo shoot was super fun because we all got to dress up and take some nice pictures on the steps of Widener Library.

    As the Associate Director of Operations, it was my job to help the Director of Operations with with catering, decorations, AV stuff, etc., and my Director, a senior at the college, was the nicest and most helpful person I have ever met. While working on the conference, she was able to give me general advice about making the best out of Harvard, and we became close friends. This also happened with other board members since we had weekly meetings, and we were all able to become close to one another. One of the highlights of my freshman year was the Latinas Unidas board retreat in the Fall semester because I was able to spend some time just getting to know the rest of the board members. I loved Latinas Unidas so much that I even decided to be the Director of Operations for the conference this year. Because of Latinas Unidas, I was able to find a place for myself at Harvard while also finding some of my closest friends.


Maria poses for a picture with Yasmin, her director for the Latina Empowerment and Development Conference.
Above: Yasmin and I decided to take a picture together because we thought it would be cute to have a Director-Associate Director picture.


The 2017-2018 board for Latinas Unidas poses in New York City during their retreat.
Above: This year’s board members got to go on a retreat to New York City!

About the author

Hi y’all, my name is Maria Perez Franco. I was born in Escuintla, Guatemala, but moved to Lewisville, Texas (a town about 20 minutes north of Dallas) when I was three. I am currently a sophomore... View full profile

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