Oregon State University hosted the 5th annual Mi Familia Weekend May 17-18 to welcome Latino students and their parents into the Beaver Nation community. College of Science dean Sastry Pantula was on hand to meet with many of the students and parents.
The 2-day event was created in 2009 by a first-year graduate student, Arlyn Moreno Luna. Her goal was to create an event that would address the needs of Latino students and their families within OSU’s community. Held after OSU Mom’s and Dad’s celebrations, this bilingual celebration offers Latino students at OSU the chance to share their life on campus with their families. Few of the Latino students’ parents attended the other OSU parent events.
With the theme Nuestras Historias, Nuestra Voz (Our stories, Our voice), the event kicked off with dinner, student performances and family activities Friday night at the Memorial Union ballroom. Guest speakers included Vice Provost for Student Affairs Dr. Larry Roper and Angelo Gomez, the interim executive director for equity and inclusion.
To truly celebrate diversity and bridge any cultural disconnect, the event is conducted in Spanish since many of the parents speak predominantly Spanish with just a little English. By offering Mi Familia Weekend in both languages, families can better engage and appreciate the event.
Most of the parents never attended college, which can create misconceptions. As a result, the event addresses issues prevalent in the Latino community, such as the value of higher education and transitioning to college life. Performances seek to inspire families to encourage their children to attend college.
College of Science senior instructor in Biochemistry and Biophysics Indira Rajagopal presented a session on success in STEM disciplines for families. Since STEM careers are often underrepresented by Latinos, it was an important message for parents and young siblings of Latino/Latina students to hear.