The Latinx Program: A Q&A with Evelia Sandoval

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Evelia Sandoval stands in front of her office (Photo by Tristan Hackbart).

Ellie Ocel/The Broadside

Evelia Sandoval, the first Latinx Program Coordinator at COCC, will be leaving COCC on October 26, 2021. However, the projects and impact she has created will continue.

The term Latinx is used to represent anyone from Latin America. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, in 2020 COCC’s student population was 12% Latinx. Latinx students have access to a variety of opportunities at COCC to help them discover a community, including the Latinx Program, the Latinx Scholarship Fund and the Latinx Club.

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Sandoval helped increase the breadth of the Latinx Program and the Latinx Club. She put together the Latinx Program’s website, helped develop the Latinx Scholarship Fund, and advised the Latinx Club.

It is because of Sandoval’s contributions that Latinx students have access to many of the resources that exist today, from full-ride scholarships to a well-organized Latinx Club. During her time at COCC, Sandoval worked to introduce students to leadership, internships, and the other opportunities provided by the college. After leaving COCC, Sandoval will work in diversity and inclusion at Les Schwab Tires. 

The Broadside had a conversation with Sandoval to hear about some of her accomplishments and the Latinx Program in general.

The Broadside: I want to start out by asking you what some of the projects and initiatives that you’ve started here are, and what they do.

Evelia Sandoval: So I was actually hired as the first Latinx Program Coordinator at COCC. So what I was charged with was working with the recruitment and the retention of Latinx students and their families. I advise the Latinx Club. When I started, they didn’t have an advisor, so the club wasn’t very consistent. So it has helped create a pretty robust club that’s gone year to year. One of the best things is that the club has consistently met every Tuesday at noon since I’ve been here.

TB: What do you do as a part of that Latinx club?

ES: At the club, we talk about current events that are going on, we talk about scholarships, resources on campus, but really issues that affect the Latinx students. So when we have those conversations, we put on events. We go out and support local Latinx businesses as well and watch films, pre-pandemic.

TB: Why are [the Latinx Club] and [the Latinx Program] important to COCC?

ES: Clubs of any type, you know, Latinx Club or anything really do add a place for students to be, but also for a way for the community to learn. A lot of the students that have been in the club have gone on to another leadership position, such as ASCOCC, go to conferences, and bring more knowledge back to the college. So it is a space where students can feel welcome, and they belong. You don’t have to be Latinx to be part of the Latinx club.

TB: What did this roll mean to you when you got it?

ES: I was the first one in my family to graduate from high school. I was very excited about going to college and I always knew I was going to college. I had really good grades in high school. So, I didn’t know how I was going to afford it but I knew I [had to go.]

Once I got to college, it became clear to me that there were a lot of inequities, and there were a lot of reasons why students didn’t make it to college, especially the Latinx students that I went to school with. So, I started doing that advocacy work right when I got to college. 

Having to be in a role where I can mentor students meant a lot to me. I know that students can succeed if they have folks in their lives that introduce them to the system and to leadership, internships, and all the resources that we have on campus.

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