Interviews With Binghamton University Latinx/Hispanic Student Organizations Leaders

                 As we continue to celebrate Latinx/Hispanic Heritage Month, the Fleishman Center for Career and Professional Development would like to highlight student leaders on our campus who have contributed to the success and welcoming nature of the latinx/hispanic community. The leaders interviewed are executive board members of various latinx/hispanic organizations on campus and provide insight into their own passions, their organizations as well as guidance for students interested in being involved on campus. 

                  Feeling like you belong to a group you are able to relate to can be very important in your academic and professional life. For many Binghamton students, they found this comfort in community within their respective organizations which include Corazoncitos, Dominican Student Association, Latin American Student Union, Caribbean Student Association, Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers, and Quimbamba Latin Dance Team. Read below to learn more about their journeys through interview questions!

What are you passionate about?

When I think about my life I know that I want to make a change. I am so fortunate to be living the life that I have. I hope to inspire people to follow their dreams so that they too can be living their best lives.” –Kayleigh McGeeney (Corazoncitos Treasurer ‘22-’23)

“I am passionate about maintaining a safe environment for my community on campus to express their ideas comfortably, and be able to feel seen and heard … [and] about making the resilience, beauty, and diversity of Latin people more visible and recognized on this campus and beyond…” –Nicole D’Amil (LASU Senior Advisor ‘22-’23)

“ I have always been passionate about helping others…In this organization, I have had the opportunity to see students like myself find a place they belong and be able to develop professionally and grow their social skills.” –Ashley Ramos (SHPE President ‘22-’23)

I’m passionate about creativity. I like to encourage others to be creative as well as express my own in various ways…” –Kelise Joly (DSA Co-Public Relations ‘22-’23)

“…I am very passionate about curating a space where all my members feel welcomed and open to be themselves and speak their minds. Of course, I am very passionate about dancing and music!…” –Mariani Bautista (Quimbamba President ‘22-’23)

As someone who loves design, being able to be creative and express a feeling or idea that I want through either painting, photography, or graphic design is a passion of mine…” –LeiLani Moya (CSA Public Relations ‘22-’23)

As a student leader, how important is it for students to be involved on campus?

It is super important to be involved in campus life. One reason is you learn far more personal skills than you would ever get in the classroom. The other is that clubs on campus open you to the opportunity of meeting more like minded and passionate people.” –Kayleigh McGeeney (Corazoncitos Treasurer ‘22-’23)

“… it is very important for people to be involved on campus. There are so many people who might feel lost, or they don’t belong, and the various multicultural organizations provide the safe space that they need…” –Nicole D’Amil (LASU Senior Advisor ‘22-’23)

I believe that it is very important for students to be involved on campus. It gives students the opportunity to meet students that have the same interests, values, and goals as them. Also networking with other people can give a person endless opportunities such as jobs, letter of recommendations, and more…” –Ashley Ramos (SHPE President ‘22-’23)

“I think it’s vital for students to be involved on campus. There’s something out there for everyone to have a good time, de-stress, meet new people, and grow out of their shells a bit.” –Kelise Joly (DSA Co-Public Relations ‘22-’23)

“…it is very important to be involved in student activities and organizations… Getting involved in the multicultural organization community on campus allows students of color to find their place where they feel comfortable and at home” –Mariani Bautista (Quimbamba President ‘22-’23)

Being involved on campus… I have met so many amazing people in the multicultural community and gained new interests and knowledge…In addition to this, I have explored a new career path…” –LeiLani Moya (CSA Public Relations ‘22-’23)

What skills have you gained by being a member of this Executive Board?

The top skill I’ve learned from being in this executive board is organization skills. I was originally Secretary for Corazoncitos and that required me to be pretty on top of things. And those organization skills also help me much in the role of treasurer. However, I also feel that my communications skills have improved significantly.” –Kayleigh McGeeney (Corazoncitos Treasurer ‘22-’23)

“… I was able to create/run events, hold board meetings, and introduce others to our organization, which are all skills utilized by professionals within various fields. Additionally I was able to create my own networks…” –Nicole D’Amil (LASU Senior Advisor ‘22-’23)

Being on Executive Eboard, the skills I have gained include being more organized, a better public speaker, and being able to make my goals into reality…” –Ashley Ramos (SHPE President ‘22-’23)

“…Promoting my organization to others has definitely pushed me out of my comfort zone in a good way when it comes to meeting new people and putting myself out there.” –Kelise Joly (DSA Co-Public Relations ‘22-’23)

“…it allowed me to plan events…Also, that was the first time I was challenged with making choreography for the team. Now as president, delegation and communication have become two of the most important skills needed” –Mariani Bautista (Quimbamba President ‘22-’23)

Public speaking was always a challenge for me but being on CSA’s executive board pushes you to speak to large groups of people and step out of your comfort zone…” –LeiLani Moya (CSA Public Relations ‘22-’23)

 Why did you first join this organization?

I joined Corazoncitos because I really loved their mission. I appreciated the dedication that all the executive board members and general body had for making a positive change in Latin America and educating the local community. These values were what inspired me to join the internship.” –Kayleigh McGeeney (Corazoncitos Treasurer ‘22-’23)

I first joined the Latin American Student Union as a freshman because of the welcoming and inviting nature of the people within the organization. I immediately felt accepted into a family, and I was able to find a home away from home in LASU…” –Nicole D’Amil (LASU Senior Advisor ‘22-’23)

I joined this organization because before college I never knew where I fit in. I remember my first SHPE general body meeting like it was yesterday, everyone was so welcoming and kind. SHPE meetings then became my favorite thing of the week…” –Ashley Ramos (SHPE President ‘22-’23)

I was excited that there was going to be a club here on campus that represented my culture. I wanted to get involved and thought what better way to do that than to join an organization that pertains directly to me and my identity…” –Kelise Joly (DSA Co-Public Relations ‘22-’23)

“ When I came to BU, I didn’t know about any of the multicultural organizations on campus so…I wanted a space where I could express my culture and find a home away from home and that’s what Quimbamba did for me.” –Mariani Bautista (Quimbamba President ‘22-’23)

It was a culture shock to go to Binghamton where you are the only or one of three students of color in a class…This pushed me to attend many multicultural organizations general body meetings during my sophomore year. I heard about the Caribbean Student Association at Ufest and went to their general body meeting the following week…CSA quickly became a safe space for me…” –LeiLani Moya (CSA Public Relations ‘22-’23)

How does your organization contribute to the upliftment of Hispanic community members?

Corazoncitos is a philanthropy based organization that fundraises money to donate to different volunteer organizations in Latin America. This semester we are donating to NorCal Resist which helps asylum seekers to fight immigration injustice.” –Kayleigh McGeeney (Corazoncitos Treasurer ‘22-’23)

“…through our various workshops and events formulated to highlight our diversity and resilience on campus and within Latin America. We emphasize taking pride in our heritage, as well as being active participants in the political movements that fight for the liberation and rights of all…” –Nicole D’Amil (LASU Senior Advisor ‘22-’23)

by bringing together hispanic students on campus that have all the same goals and values…Our biggest goal is to be a place where hispanic students feel welcomed and to create a familia with others on campus.” –Ashley Ramos (SHPE President ‘22-’23)

“…by creating spaces to introduce our culture to other Hispanic students for them to enjoy as well as bringing fellow Dominican students on campus together to indulge in and be proud of who we are and where we come from.” –Kelise Joly (DSA Co-Public Relations ‘22-’23)

“…it allows Latinx students who love to dance…grow as a dancer and find people that love to do the same thing…This team focuses on bringing Latin culture to the Binghamton community through dance performances and just events for the public!” –Mariani Bautista (Quimbamba President ‘22-’23)

“…All of CSA’s events can remind many Latin Americans of home whether it be through music, food, dance, and more. CSA strives to bring One Love to all members of our community and encourages every student to grow and become the best version of themselves…” –LeiLani Moya (CSA Public Relations ‘22-’23)

                             You can learn more about these organizations through our instagram (@bingfleishmancareer) as well as look into their general body meetings and mission statements!

By Stephanie Ramirez-Cisneros
Stephanie Ramirez-Cisneros Senior Peer Consultant