Is La Casa Latina a gateway to success for Latino students?

The first thing I noticed when I entered La Casa Latina was a large mural with images of a rural area, the city of Portland and Latino students in graduation robes throwing their hats in merriment. Many Latino students have already made use of this center during the summer, and the staff expects to get a lot more traffic now that school has started. La Casa Latina offers students a quiet place to study, use computers and relax.

I was pleasantly surprised to find out that the art featured at this center was created mostly by PSU students. The fact that students were involved in the process of creating and putting this support center together really gives it a personal touch. The goal is to create a support system, to network and empower identity for the retention of Latino students at Portland State. It is the latest approach to support Latino students, who are the most underrepresented group at PSU relative to their growing population in Oregon.

As a Latina student, I could see myself coming to this center to study and feeling welcomed. I think that centers such as La Casa Latina will help recruit more Latino students to PSU. Jilma Meneses, Chief Diversity Officer at PSU, believes that La Casa Latina is a place where everyone can feel welcome and learn about the Latino culture. I think La Casa Latina is a great resource for Latino students to get the support they might need to succeed in school, and I look forward visiting this term.

Have you been to La Casa Latina? Do you think you’ll use this center?