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A voice for Latino Alumni
After Francisco Duenas '99 and his fellow Latino classmates graduated,
two questions kept circulating through their conversations: How could
they stay connected to Pomona, and what could they contribute to the
College as alumni?
The Latino Alumni Affinity Group
"We wanted to find rewarding ways to give back, whether that's to current
students, the administration, the College itself or to our own Latino
communities as representatives of Pomona," Duenas says. "The concerns we
had as students we still share as alumni. As Latino students, many of us
were interested in having professors of color. Just because we are alums
doesn't mean we don't care. Secondly, we asked what role we can play as
alumni to help current students with current projects. There's no office
for that. No one necessarily maintains those connections or ties."
Duenas and his friends decided to take action. Together they created an
e-mail list. They gathered two dozen former classmates and 10 current
students at Duenas' Los Angeles apartment. There was consensus at this
2005 meeting that they needed a new community to keep Latino alums
firmly connected to the College.
"We felt as Latino alums, there's a need to have a voice, and we felt
our opinions could add value to larger dialogue," he says. Duenas,
Carlos Solorio '99 and Vickie Ramos '98 approached the Alumni Relations
Office, and the Latino Alumni Affinity Group (LAAG) was born. Today,
LAAG has more than 75 members in their Yahoo group at
From its inception, LAAG has focused on strengthening the voices that
its Latino members gained at Pomona.
"On campus there are several different ways people who are Latino might
find their voice ... [Studies] are just one avenue, just like the actual
Latino student group is another avenue. Maybe another is a service
community group that does work in local Latino communities," says Duenas.
The group's first event was a Latino alumni mixer during the 2005 Alumni
Weekend. Since then, the group has been involved in the Career
Development Office's career week program with alumni speaking about the
transition from college, as well as mentoring individual students.
Latino alumni have also been involved in the Minority Student Action
Program weekend for prospective students.
"Anytime we can get alums to assist with prospective students, we really
appreciate it," says Gary Kelly, associate dean of Admissions. "They've
been very, very active and willing to make themselves available to
prospective and current students. They make themselves available if
students want to pick their brain." -- Molly Berman '07