Latino Student Union and the importance of perspective

four Latino Student Union members

By Ayanda Sutu ’25

On Hanover College’s campus, the Latino Student Union (LSU) brings a welcoming and bright atmosphere to all.

“We are excited to meet new faces and welcome them to the club,” said Maria Godoy Sanchez ‘26, the club’s president. She, along with Jeanette Howard ‘25, treasurer, and Leslie Redus ’24, are proud of what LSU provides to the student body.

“The purpose [of LSU] is to amplify the voices of Latino and Hispanic students on campus because there’s a small number of us here,” stated Redus.

“I am proud of this club and what it stands for,” said Godoy Sanchez.” We create a space for Latino students and those who are appreciative of our culture and heritage to feel comfortable expressing their heritage and identity.” She added, “It’s so important to have a club, like LSU, on campus. The goal is for students of Latino origin to have a space to express themselves. We also welcome anyone who appreciates this culture to have the chance to learn more about the traditions, festivities, and issues that affect us.”

Despite its rural location, the trio of young women believe the campus is open to students of diverse backgrounds. Their favorite moments are those that involve the whole student body, such as Cinco de Mayo and Hispanic Heritage Month.

“I love seeing people from different cultures coming together and witnessing Latino culture and traditions,” said Godoy Sanchez. “The meaning of being Latino or Latina differs for everyone and that’s the beauty of our heritage,” noted Redus.

The aspiration for any club or organization is for it to stand the test of time and be here for students in the coming years. When asked what they want Hanover’s LSU to look like in the future, Howard responded, “I would want for more people on campus to be involved with this club.” Godoy Sanchez added, “If the club provides Latino or Latina students with the resources and peers to be mentally healthy and happy, I know our job has been done as club leaders.”

The students have hope for the club to be a long-lasting organization on campus. What they want for LSU is support from Hanover faculty, staff and the administration. Each of the club leaders expressed that by bringing students of color to campus, there is also a need for proper resources and support for these individuals.

Redus, passionately stating the importance of having representation on faculty, said, “I am thankful for the work Constance Pope (director of the Haq Center for Cross-Cultural Education) has done for this campus. As a community, we are especially grateful to faculty of Latino/Hispanic heritage because they are able to understand our perspective and experience.”

Hanover College has tremendous potential to provide students of color with a welcoming community. The experiences that students of color have are valuable to the growth of the school and can help people understand their position in society and use it to elevate the voices of others.

Pictured (l-r): Ayanda Sutu ’25, Jeanette Howard ‘25, Maria Godoy Sanchez ’26 and Alex Farias ’26