To the Incoming Latinx Class of 2021,
As one of the many voices you will hear from prior to your arrival on campus, on behalf of Princeton Latinos y Amigos, we want to extend you all another welcome to what will be some of the most challenging, yet educative and exhilarating, years that are to come. You’ll learn rather quickly that Princeton is a unique campus, with distinctive traditions that stretch back to 1746. With such a specific history and origin that is rooted both in exclusion and inclusion, Princeton University continues to pose a unique challenge to the marginalized students that it admits every year. Particularly for incoming Latinx students, you might encounter a campus that oftentimes feels like a whole new and alienating world. From the dearth of classes available in Latinx studies, to the small percentage of Latinx students, to even classmates who might not understand or appreciate your heritage, being a student of Latinx background at Princeton can appear to be an additional burden to the already overwhelming academic load. However, even with the difficulties you might face, you will still find a welcoming community that is ready to fully embrace and celebrate you for who you truly are.
At Princeton, you will encounter a small, but vibrant community of Latinx individuals that are particularly proud of their distinct backgrounds. Bonds are quickly formed with one another through trips to the local bodega, conversations over tacos from El Rancho in Trenton, and late night study sessions at the Carl A. Fields Center with Bachata music playing in the background. These bonds are more formalized through programing hosted throughout the year by undergraduate Latinx organizations like Princeton Latinos y Amigos (PLA) and Princeton University Latinx Perspectives Organization (PULPO), which both seek to celebrate our heritage while fostering dialogue within the Princeton Latinx community and beyond. PLA’s annual Latina Celebration and monthly Comunidad study breaks, as well as PULPO’s monthly Call Out Call In (COCI) dinners, are just a few of the many programs that Latinx organizations at Princeton have to offer.
During the next four years, you will have plenty of opportunities to celebrate, question, call out, dismantle, and honor parts of your identities with other Latinx students who are here to uplift you in that process. In fact, as the period from Sep. 15 to Oct. 15 marks Latinx Heritage Month (LHM), opportunities to meet members of our community will be presented to you right when you arrive to campus. Throughout the month, you will find a host of events that are intended to uplift the voices of the most marginalized within our community, in addition to celebrating our diverse identities. We hope that you can join us for LHM and come to know the Latinx community that we have grown to know and love; A community that never ceases to inspire us to be the best that we can be.
As the co-Presidents of PLA, this letter presents an incredibly rewarding opportunity for us to continue strengthening the Princeton Latinx community by welcoming and engaging all of you, the great Princeton Latinx Class of 2021. It is our hope that this short letter has presented you with an honest and comprehensive opinion of Latinx life at Princeton that leaves you feeling both hopeful and excited for the year to come. If you have any questions or just want to connect with us, please contact us through email at email@example.com, follow us on Facebook at Princeton Latinos y Amigos, or look us up on the internet at pla.princeton.edu
In solidarity and community,
Kauribel Javier '19 and Samuel Vilchez Santiago '19
On behalf of the Princeton Latinos y Amigos Board
"I wouldn't have survived here (at Princeton) without my community here, without people who understood where I came from and understood who I was,"
- Sonia Sotomayor ‘76, Associate Justice of the US Supreme Court
Editor’s Note: This piece is part of our Opinion section’s ongoing welcome series. Groups and individuals from a diverse set of backgrounds and identities are encouraged to share advice and opinions on the Princeton experience. If you are interested in submitting a guest column, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.