Home Away from Home

Category Student Voices


Carolina Class of '21 Alumni
Authored on October 29, 2018


I’ve been off campus for the past three weekends in a row. Is that a lot? Probably. Has it been for good reasons? Absolutely.

The reason for this constant travel has been due to the many organizations and groups that I have joined since my first couple of weeks on campus. One of those organizations is Latinas Unidas. Latinas Unidas is the cultural affinity group for Latinas on campus that strives to put on events that one creates a community for Latinas on campus and two bring issues that affects us as Latinas to lights. I joined Latinas Unidas my freshman year because I wanted to find a community that would help me navigate my four years at Harvard. I can say with certainty that Latinas Unidas has become a second home for me on campus. That feeling first began during Latinas Unidas’ yearly retreat last fall. Every year Latinas Unidas’ board and the Latina Empowerment and Development Conference (LEAD) board go on a retreat. Last year we traveled to New York City for our retreat.

Photograph of author in New York City with members of the Latinas Unidas’ board in 2017

Through an eight-hour car ride to New York City, face masks, a creepy Airbnb, and deep conversation I finally felt like I found a group of girls with who I could relate to. The retreat last year is one of my favorite Harvard memories. So when we started to think of where we wanted to go on retreat this year, I wanted to go to a place where all of board (29 girls!) could really get to know each other better. We ultimately decided to go to a cabin in the White Mountains of New Hampshire.

I personally had never been to New Hampshire before and was super excited. I was even more excited though to get the opportunity to better know the new individuals who had just joined board this year. Our board this year grew dramatically which is really exciting because a majority of the new people are first-year students! Since I knew how big of a role retreat had played in my life as a first-year student, I wanted to make sure that we emulated that same experience this year. Through a three-hour car ride, the making of a home cooked meal, lots of brownies, honest conversation, and throwback karaoke session I feel that we did just that. I was happy to hear that even though many girls said they had a lot of work to catch up on, that they were happy to have come on retreat.

Photograph of author with members of the Latinas Unidas’ board on retreat

I would call this year’s retreat a success. Latinas Unidas and LEAD has become an integral part of my Harvard experience. I am so grateful to have found a community in which I can unapologetically be myself. I am also thankful to have the opportunity to travel to new places with people I truly care about, even if that means being off campus for three weekends in a row. 

Carolina Class of '21 Alumni