Latine Students Struggle to Build Community

HUNTER COLLEGE–Salsa music blares from room TH 208/209 as students are greeted with blue streamers and a banner that reads “Latino Medical Student Association” just above the entrance. They are gathered here for LMSA+’s “Salsa Night” where the club’s vice president, Stevens Patino, is teaching them the dance. Most of the students attending are of Latine descent, from places like Puerto Rico, Mexico, Brazil, Peru, and the Dominican Republic, just to name a few. They dance with each other as the night goes on. 

Like other CUNY schools, Hunter has a diverse student body from across New York City and beyond. According to Data USA, about 28.6 percent of students are of Hispanic/Latine descent as of 2020. They edge out their white peers by 0.1 percent, who make up 28.5 percent of the student population. However, the number of Hispanic/Latine student organizations does not reflect these statistics. LMSA+, for instance, is one of only three Hispanic/Latine-centered clubs listed on Hunter’s website

“I’ve had difficulty finding other Latino clubs, ” said Patino. “I think what we have here is a hidden gem.”