Latino students from seven Ivy League universities united on campus this weekend to participate in the sixth annual Latino Ivy League Conference.
Dozens of students attended, participating in a weekend full of events designed to build camaraderie, encourage networking and inspire political activism among students.
According to organizers Yizary Polanco ’13 and Anne Escobedo ’12, this year’s conference particularly emphasized the nation’s current dispute over illegal immigration.
“The theme of this conference was the future Latino,” Polanco said. “Where are we going in the future? And what are we going to do to help ourselves and our community?”
Workshops and discussions centered around this goal, addressing topics such as the plight of undocumented students within universities and the lack of Latino professors and administrators in higher education, according to Polanco and Escobedo.
The event culminated in a banquet showcasing student artists, performers, designers and writers.
The first Latino Ivy League Conference was held in 2004 at Dartmouth College. Every year since, a new Ivy League university has been selected to be a host at the culmination of the conference.
Vicente Gonzalez ’11 attended two prior conferences held at Harvard and Dartmouth while an undergraduate at Cornell. According to Gonzalez, participants exuded a particularly strong energy at this year’s conference.
He attributed the change to the successful planning of organizers and the “Occupy Wall Street” movement, which he said has roused a passionate “spirit of activism” among undergraduate students.
“There were so many great, passionately articulated ideas thrown around,” he said. “Everyone understood the issues and had an opinion to voice.”
Gonzalez, who taught a workshop during the conference on the topic of power structures, said he was particularly pleased with the participation of freshman and sophomore students, whose presence he said was felt noticeably more than in previous years.
“It’s important they are here and that they participate, connect and digest what they learn,” he said. “They are the future leaders on campus.”