“There are 80 members in the Latino Student Union of which 55 can be considered active,” says Elizondo-Serratos. The group meets every Monday evening at 8 pm. José López is the current president, Carlos Ruiz is treasurer, and Nick Abalos is secretary. There is no vice president at this time.
“As the Latino Student Union advisor, I know that it is so important in keeping the retention initiative,” says Elizondo-Serratos. This year she has folded the Primos mentoring program into LSU, awarding students points for participating. The Primos mentoring program pairs UT upperclassmen with incoming freshmen to help guide them with their transition to college.
“One of the changes I instituted this year was to take the Primos retreat off-campus; I brought it to Maumee Bay Resort. I wanted to take it away from campus where the emphasis is upon always being serious and give them the opportunity for relaxation and to get connected in an informal surrounding. It had never been held in the summer before; instead it was done in September when the students were already under stress. I had nine mentors, and they knew that the emphasis was to be on studies and not party life.
“It made a huge difference every day. It is all about passion and your purpose for being here. And the program is a success. There were only three students who participated in Primos back when it was held in September. This year there were 27,” says Elizondo-Serratos.
She was president of the Latino Student Union during 1994-95.
Other activities and goals
Elizondo-Serratos will be taking 28 students to the US Hispanic Leadership Institute Conference in Chicago, scheduled in February of 2008.
Elizondo-Serratos is chairperson of the Latino Youth Summit, which will be held on the UT campus on May 7, 2008, from 9 am to 5 pm.
“Families with students in grades 7 - 12th should save the date. Details with permission slips will come from their schools. LYS is a day-long event that gives our Latino youth the opportunity to be on campus while learning about different career paths and educational opportunities. It is important that their academic planning begins even before their junior high school years so that they can be adequately prepared for college.
“This program allows them to have hands-on and interactive experience with experts in fields such as engineering, business, pharmacy, education, math, technology, fire and police and the trades. We are always looking for support so please refer anyone who may be interested in assisting with this program on the financial end to connect with my office,” says Elizondo-Serratos.
“It is truly exciting to see more than 700 Latino youths on our campus year after year. Margarita De León should always be credited for bringing LYS to fruition. It definitely wouldn’t be what it is today without Margarita’s hard work and commitment to this program,” adds Elizondo-Serratos, who began serving on the planning committee in 2003.
Elizondo-Serratos was born in Toledo. Her parents, Sixto and Sabina Elizondo, moved to San Antonio in March 2007.
She has four sisters. Sandi Elizondo, Irene Elizondo, and Consuelo Nino all live in Toledo and Gregoria Elizondo lives in Seguin, Texas. Their brother Sixto (Tito) Elizondo, Jr. lives in Houston.
“My grandparents were the late Eusebio and Concepción Martínez and the late Marcos and Consuelo Elizondo. Marcos died this November of 2007. The Martínez clan lived on Eastern,” Elizondo-Serratos says.
She attended the SS Peter and Paul elementary school where she recalls “I was a member of the last graduating class before they tore it down. I then went to Libbey High School – I was a cowgirl – and graduated in 1987.”
Elizondo-Serratos earned her degrees at the University of Toledo, including her Associates degree in 1993, her Bachelor of Arts degree in 1998 and her Masters degree in August 2006.
“Growing up, I was the Mexican-American queen for MACA [Mexican American Cultural Association, founded by Carlos Sarabia], and Anita López was my competitor. I love music and I loved my community. Everyone had a lot of pride in the celebrations. I remember there were four band stages all the way down to Segur.
“Your community is who you are. And that inspired me to bring my proposal for the Viva South Mexican American Festival to Celso Rodríguez in 2005. I have been the Toledo chair of the event since then,” says Elizondo-Serratos.
She is married to Mike Serrantos, a self-employed subcontractor active in construction/home remodeling. They have four children: Jessina is a freshman at UT; Sirena is a sophomore at Central Catholic High School; Michael Jr., is a 4th grader at Queen of Apostles and MiCaela is a 1st-grader there.
Elizondo-Serratos got a taste of politics when she served as campaign manager for Taylor Balderas in her 2005 council campaign. She has also been a contributor and photographer for El Tiempo since 2004.
University of Toledo's LSU students