Happy fall and school year 2011-2012! While classes have been in session for just a few weeks, Chicano Studies has been busy, involved and active in many arenas! Certainly very high on the list and quite present in our daily work is the department's 40th Anniversary Commemoration. We started the year honoring the department's founders at La Raza Student Cultural Center's annual El Grito event. It was an honor and privilege to listen to the original members of the Latin Liberation Front-those who demanded the formation of the Chicano Studies Department in 1971- describe what it was like then and offer their perspective on today's organizing and educational empowerment. Also on that day, we honored and commemorated the life of Dr. Guillermo Rojas, long time department chair, who passed this last summer. We are honored that his family was able to join us.
For the 40th anniversary, there will be plenty of events to attend, things to think about and ways to get involved. Contact Outreach Coordinator Lisa Sass Zaragoza (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you'd like to get involved either with 40th events or with other outreach efforts. See the poster and more complete details at www.chicano.umn.edu.
On campus, we are excited to welcome all new students to campus and particularly those involved in CASA SOL, our first year living learning community. All Soleros take a Chicano Studies class as well as have opportunities to connect with many opportunities on campus. In September, this fabulous group completed a day-long retreat at Camp Iduhapi- a local YMCA camp and there are many more activities and opportunities planned and in the works!
We continue our campus visits with K-12 community partners Academia Cesar Chavez (E. Side St. Paul), El Colegio/Juventud Conectada (S. MPLS) and Centro Campesino-particularly their Latino College Access Program. As students and families come to campus, they become more familiar with not only the college/university setting, but with the idea of higher education, more knowledgeable about the college process and resources available to indeed make higher education a possibility.
Finally, we continue our work with the Oral History and Video Projects. Both efforts grow from the desire to document issues of importance to our community, to record community members and provide an arena for authentic voice. Check out our website (add link) to see some or our first efforts. Both projects continue to grow and more and more videos will soon be added to the site.
Lisa Sass Zaragoza