Five Things I Learned as President of a Harvard Cultural Organization

Category Student Voices


Gloria Class of '24
Authored on February 27, 2023


cake with the words Latinas Unidas

Latinas Unidas Birthday Party Cake Celebrating 31 Years

Latinas Unidas Birthday Party Cake Celebrating 31 Years

Latinas Unidas de Harvard College, founded in 1991, provides a forum for community building, intellectual discussion, and the empowerment of women and femmes. We believe that our individual backgrounds, while diverse, combine to form a strong and unique culture. We foster this strength and unity through three main branches of action: 1) Advocacy Events, 2) Social Events, and 3) Professional Outreach. We believe and embrace the important responsibility to showcase the power of women, build communal ties, and establish long-lasting career pipelines.

In December of 2021, I was elected president of Latinas Unidas, and I was so honored to have the opportunity to serve my community. Having grown up in a predominant immigrant neighborhood on the outskirts of Chicago, I always valued heritage and sought to find a community at Harvard that I could call “home.” Throughout my time at Harvard, Latinas Unidas has been a community of love and acceptance. It is where I was able to meet my best friends, cultivate relationships with professors, and create lifelong memories. As I reflect on my experiences and share what I learned, I encourage others to find their community on campus.

Picture of six students standing in front of a Latinas Unidas poster at activities fair

Latinas Unidas at Extracurricular Fair

  1. Be true to yourself. Coming into the city of Cambridge, amidst the historic buildings and “big name professors, I was nervous about how I would “fit in.” I realized that it was my unique experiences, my heritage, and my personality which made me special. Despite being far away from home, I embraced my culture more than ever and cherished where I came from. 
  2. Make friends, mentors, and mentees! Upon going to different Latinx cultural events, I quickly made friends with others who shared in my experiences. In Latinas Unidas we work to create relationships with Latinx professors and faculty. I have established strong relationships with Adams House Faculty Dean Mercedes Becerra, and Adams House Scholar in Residence Margarita Rosa, both people I look up to who have empowered me to pursue academia. 
  3. Take time for yourself. Among my course work, jobs, and research, I learned the importance of self-care and taking time for yourself. Life moves fast, and it is important to listen to your body and mind. I worked with the Academic Resource Center to learn best practices for studying and time management. 
  4. Always give back. I am two and a half semesters away from graduating, and as I reflect on my experiences, I hope to help students younger than me navigate college. As a first generation, low income student, I had lots of questions about Harvard. I looked to a lot of upperclassmen to help guide me, and I wish to return the favor to new generations.
    A large group of students smiling for a photograph at a mixer

    LU Wellesly Mixer

  5. Always have fun! I made such great friends within the Latinx community. One of my favorite memories is Latinx convocation, which is a ceremony to welcome first years to Harvard! I also enjoyed celebrating Latinas Unidas’ Birthday, marking over 30 years of community, empowerment, and friendship. 

I greatly enjoyed my time as president of Latinas Unidas and am eager to see how the community will grow in the future. 

LU students gathered around a poster for a photo

LU Visitas Event


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Gloria Class of '24

Hello! My name is Gloria. I am a sophomore living in Winthrop house. I am studying Social Studies and Romance Languages with an emphasis on Spanish Literature. I grew up on the outskirts of Chicago, embracing my Latine heritage and community organizing.

Gloria Maldonado