Latino groups benefit from new forum

By Brenden Walz

Six Latino student groups at NIU are harvesting the benefits from a forum set up last fall to improve communication between them.

The six groups are members of Voz de Alianza Latina Estudiantil, which translates to United Latino Student Voices.

The group was formed during fall semester 1991 in response to the increase in the number of Latino students in the NIU student population over the last few years, VALE Chairman Virginia Garcia said.

Garcia said the value of the new organization comes from the communication forum it provides for the participating Latino organizations.

“It just opens new channels of communications as far as the communication is concerned,” Garcia said. “It’s six voices united.”

Garcia said most of the six Latino student groups which make up the group did not exist several years ago. She said there was only one student group representing Latino students in 1986, and the group was and still is the Organization of Latin American Students.

Other Latino groups which have formed only in the last year or so include the National Hispanic Month Planning Committee, Zeta Sigma Chi sorority and Alpha Psi Lambda fraternity.

VALE Finance Chairman Rafael Vargas said the purpose of the group is to provide a forum for the six groups to discuss events for Latino organizations and to plan events for Latino and non-Latino students on campus.

“It advocates for the needs of Latino students and it’s a place for all six organizations to give their opinions,” Vargas said.

The group meets on the first and third Tuesday each month at 9 p.m. in the Holmes Student Center Room 505. The meetings are open to all students who wish to attend the meetings.

The six organizations which make up VALE include OLAS, the National Hispanic Month Planning Committee, Alpha Psi Lambda, Sigma Lambda Beta and Zeta Sigma Chi.