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Northern Iowan

The student news site of the University of Northern Iowa

Northern Iowan

The student news site of the University of Northern Iowa

Northern Iowan

Highlighting Latiné culture on campus

UNIdos aims to foster community at UNI
UNIdos encourages everyone to attend their events. The organization will be hosting the annual Noche de Gala on Saturday, April 13. For more information, visit their Instagram, @uni_unidos.

“Providing a better understanding of the Hispanic/Latinx/Latiné culture to the UNI community through educational, cultural, and social programming.”

This is one of the main goals of UNIdos, an organization dedicated to providing an understanding of and serving as a positive representation of Latiné students at the University of Northern Iowa.

The organization was previously known as the Hispanic Latino Student Union (HSLU) and has been established at UNI since the early 90’s according to University Archives.The group’s roots go back to 1971 with the formation of the Association of Mexican American Students.

UNIdos President Lizbeth Garcia Tellez says that community and connection are right in the group’s name. “I always say UNIdos is part of unity, especially within our community. UNIdos means united.” 

Besides creating and fostering a safe community for students on campus, the group hosts a variety of events for students throughout the school year. Each month, UNIdos hosts a main event along with a smaller de-stress event. An example of a main event would be the volleyball tournament the group co-hosted with the Asian Student Union in February, and an example of a de-stress event would be the “Study with UNIdos” event the group held on Tuesday, March 5 at the Book Bistro in Rod Library. 

Each executive member creates and organizes a main event for the organization. The group tries to switch up events hosted throughout the year while also continuing to host popular events for students. Some of the more popular events include making DIY piñatas,  Zumba dancing and handing out paletas, or frozen popsicles, at Maucker Union.

UNIdos also hosts Noche de Gala every April in the Maucker Union Ballrooms. This event is a formal event created to celebrate the success of the organization throughout the year. This year the event will take place on Saturday, April 13 from 5 – 10 p.m. and will feature a catered dinner, guest speaker, music and dancing. The guest speaker will be Dr. Jesús Lizárraga-Estrada, the Director of Student Success and Retention at UNI. Lizárraga-Estrada was also recently inducted into the Iowa Latino Hall of Fame in October of 2023. 

Besides planning and organizing events for UNIdos, the executive members hope to create a safe space on campus and provide students a voice through their organization.

“We host a variety of different events throughout the school year for all students. But other than that, I think we’re (creating) just a sense of community and making sure students feel safe, like creating that safe environment for them and kind of being a home away from home for students,” Lizbeth Garcia Tellez, president of UNIdos, said. 

The group also encourages any UNI students to attend their events.

“UNIdos is a multicultural organization so anyone is welcome to join,” one executive member said.

Garcia Tellez added, “I love getting to see and meet people. I’m always encouraging my exec like, ‘let’s get out there, let’s talk to people.’”

Students are welcomed to attend other events the group has planned for the rest of the school year. UNIdos plans to co-host a vinyl sip and paint with the Indigenous Student Organization later in March. Also, those interested in attending Noche de Gala can scan the QR linked on the group’s Instagram in order to RSVP.

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HOPE SCHULTE, Staff Writer, Graphic Designer

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