New alumni network to support Elon’s growing Latinx and Hispanic community
The Elon Latinx Hispanic Alumni Network (ELHAN) will officially launch September 2017.
Created to serve as a beacon of support for Elon’s Hispanic and Latinx community, the Elon University Office of Alumni Engagement will formally launch the Elon Latinx Hispanic Alumni Network—or ELHAN, for short—during Hispanic Heritage Month in September.
ELHAN is the latest addition to the growing number of alumni affinity networks at Elon, which now include the Elon Black Alumni Network (EBAN) and the LGBTQIA Alumni Network. With an increasing number of Hispanic and Latinx students studying and graduating from Elon, the ELHAN will act as voice for this historically underrepresented population. Latinx is the gender-neutral way of referring to people of Latin American descent.
“The Office of Alumni Engagement is excited to have the ELHAN come to fruition,” said Deidra Smith, assistant director of alumni engagement. “The networks major areas of focus include opportunities for networking, mentorship and financial support for Hispanic and Latinx alumni and students. The work ELHAN is going to do will have a lasting impact on Elon’s campus. We look forward to coordinating activities that support the academic and professional development of Latinx Hispanic alumni, faculty, students and staff at Elon University.”
The network will also assist with recruiting a more diverse body of incoming students. By empowering these students through mentorship and financial support, ELHAN is directly reflecting the Elon Commitment, a university wide initiative to better reflect the world’s socio-economic, ethnic and cultural diversity.
“It’s really exciting,” said Sylvia Muñoz G’02, interim director for the Center for Race, Ethnicity, and Diversity Education and director of the Spanish Center who has been instrumental in the development of the alumni affinity group. “Hispanic/Latinx students are more engaged with the university than ever before and they want to continue being connected to ensure future Hispanic/Latinx students have the resources they need to be successful.”
Muñoz said the group includes Hispanic/Latinx alumni who live in the United States as well as internationally, which means programming will be different for this segment of the alumni body since the needs vary depending on location. Muñoz added this presents logistical challenges that will require innovative, creative new approaches to engagement. What remains the same no matter where Hispanic/Latinx alumni are, she said, is a desire to stay connected with Elon, serve as a support for students and see firsthand the impact of their financial giving.
Nikki Morillo ’12 agrees. “I have always dreamed of seeing Elon’s Latino and Latina alumni come together in support of each other and of the university that we so love,” she said. “I am so excited that with the help of Deidra and countless others this dream will soon become a reality.”
The network is planning their first official gather during Homecoming 2017 in November to provide various events and programs to their constituents.
Article written by Alex Saylor '16, Office of University Advancement