Local Stories

35 years of Latino progression at University of Illinois at Chicago

35 years of Latino progression at University of Illinois at Chicago

By Christina Elizabeth Rodriguez
Extra News

CHICAGO — In the 1970s, the University of Illinois at Chicago was a site for change for the Latino community, on and off campus. Latino students and faculty demanded a need for educational programs; the need to establish initiatives to promote college attendance, recognize academic success and encourage leadership by launching campaigns, planning sit-ins and demonstrations, and ultimately taking over the administrative building on campus. The time for change was nigh and students of color lead the pack.

The hard work and pressure paid off in 1975 when the Latin American Recruitment and Educational Services program was established. Otherwise known as LARES, the program is celebrating 35 years of service to the Latino community through advocacy, recruitment and retention.

LARES services approximately 2,600 students every year, more than half of the Latino population that attends UIC, said Hugo Teruel, interim director of the program.

“The students aren’t obligated to come in for services,” he explained over a phone conversation. “They come in through their own will.” The program, equipped with 11 staff members, not only services the students who are already enrolled at UIC, but also reaches out to heavily populated Latino communities and suburbs that need encouragement, advice and a guided path to higher education.

“LARES was born out of advocacy for the Latino student population and the community,” said Teruel. “The program plays two roles. It is part of the university; an institutional unit, but it also ties to the community. I think it’s beneficial to maintain that link to the community.”

Teruel, who has been with LARES for 21 years, claims that having more Latino professors and faculty members will increase their student retention and graduation rate because of the role models in the classroom. With that said, LARES maintains a pipeline for the potential to increase Latino faculty members at the university. Through committee membership to groups such as the Illinois Board of Higher Education and being a part of the Diverse Faculty Initiative, LARES promotes the opportunity to diversify the UIC campus.

“As soon as students come in their freshman year, we are promoting graduate school,” said Teruel. LARES offers the opportunity for students to immerse themselves in the Latino culture of the school, allowing opportunities for research and possibly a position to teach and develop a career.

However, there have been challenges in keeping programs like LARES alive. Teruel said that success for Latinos across the United States has been a cha-cha; one step forward, one step back. For example, while President Barack Obama has agreed to take a step forward for undocumented students…

Finish reading 35 years of Latino progression at University of Illinois at Chicago

Click to add a comment

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply

Local Stories

More in Local Stories

markel signed bill

Delaware’s governor signs law granting driving privileges to undocumented residents of the state

Latina ListaJuly 2, 2015
luisgonzalez_luchalibre

El Paso’s lucha libre fighter keeps famed Guerrero tradition alive

Latina ListaJuly 1, 2015
pres-and-old-black-and-white-photo

In CT, Borinqueneers honored with major thoroughfare but input left out of design for Congressional Gold Medal

Latina ListaJune 30, 2015
20141222_0092-1-copy-e1435254669268

Mission District’s Bolivian dance group celebrates 15 years

Latina ListaJune 29, 2015
544b55bccf868.image

U.S.-Mexico Border Wells Drying Up

Latina ListaJune 26, 2015
1743525_851156791635964_1258547508640946199_n

San Antonio artist establishes “M.A.S for the Masses

Latina ListaJune 25, 2015
Critics say one disadvantage of Structured English Immersion is that the only English speaker, the teacher, may have 20 students, which makes it hard for students to practice their English.

Federal court upholds Arizona’s process for teaching non-English speakers

Latina ListaJune 23, 2015
33688848_19ee6ca849_o

Latin American flags coming to streetlights in Chicago’s Humboldt Park

Latina ListaJune 22, 2015
Chicano Legacy 40 Anos

Campaign for ethnic studies in San Diego schools is getting results

Latina ListaJune 19, 2015