Attending a PWI is not always the safest place for many people of color. We are entering a space that wasn’t originally meant for us, and many of that resentment is present on campus. However, I want to highlight a few places that the University provides on campus that allows students of color to connect with students and faculty that have a better understanding of each group's specific struggles. And while most of this article is highlighting safe spaces for latin@s (as these are the places I have been to and know most about), links have also been provided for more safe places applicable to many minority groups.
According to their website, “the mission of La Casa Cultural Latina is to promote a welcoming and dynamic atmosphere through the development of educational, cultural, socio-political, and social programs that lead to greater recruitment, retention, advancement, and empowerment of Latina/o students.”* However, from my experience La Casa does so much more than that, and in summary it is a “home away from home.” La Casa is constantly hosting different events and panels that allows students to gain important skills - such as resume reviews or learning about financial aid - to fun events such as Latin Dance Night (check out our article here). La Casa also does Lunch on Us, where they provide students with free food (!!) just by showing up. And at the bare minimum, La Casa is a free space for students to go study or meet up with friends. La Casa provides so many resources and opportunities for students that makes it possible for our community to succeed and in general understand that we are not alone in this difficult environment.
Location: 1203 W Nevada St, Urbana, IL 61801
Phone Number: (217) 333-4950
As an LLS major, I also must encourage you to take at least one LLS class. Latina/Latino Studies operates as an intimate community where students have opportunities to engage with faculty, staff, and their peers in multiple ways. And the topics discussed are mind blowing, and many of the topics touch on the history of race, gender, and citizenship status in the US that usually aren’t being discussed.
Apart from the academics, the Latino/a Studies Department is another great place to go to even if you're not a LLS major/ minor. While this space is pretty small, the back of their building is a great location for studying and/or reading from their extensive library. The LLS department also has free access to computers along with free printing (if you didn’t know already the University makes you pay for printing).
The department also houses the Brown Theatre Collective, which “has given students, staff and faculty across campus the opportunity to come together as a community to produce theatre and performance by and about people of color.” Additionally, “with the opening of La Estación Gallery, students have been involved in the creation of an art and performance gallery, which showcases Latina/o and queer performance artists across the diaspora.”**
Location: 1207 W Oregon St, Urbana, IL 61801
Phone Number: (217) 265-0370
Being involved in RSO’s - especially latinx centered - helps many students find a safe space to be themselves, and on top of that actually promote and exemplify the latinx community on campus. Here are a few of the many RSO’s the university offers!
Latino Christian Fellowship (LCF)
For more information email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Cultural Houses and Resource Centers:
Ethnic Studies Departments: