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LSU scholarships yield valuable returns for the community
By Josh Flores

Since 1972, the Latino Student Union (LSU) at The University of Toledo has been a staple of activism and support for students pursuing a higher education. Initially, LSU was known as M.E.Ch.A (El Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlán) but over the years, the organization has experienced numerous changes. 

The organization officially became known as LSU in 2003 and while some opinions may vary about the changes it has undergone, the more important focus should be on what has remained the same—the organization is still a place for Latinos to turn to—for support and a little slice of familia in the pursuit of creating a better life. 

The organization also provides its membership with scholarship opportunities. 

The scholarship is not hefty enough to fully fund a student’s tuition; rather, it serves as a scholarship to provide those few extra dollars to purchase incidentals, such as books and supplies. With the rising cost of higher education, students benefit from the assistance provided by these LSU scholarships. 

LSU scholarships are awarded to members primarily based on involvement and contributions made to the organization. 

When asked how LSU scholarships assisted her while in college, Angelita Cruz-Bridges, Director of Operations and General Counsel for the Lucas County Auditor, stated: “I remember using the scholarship for books and incidentals.  I also received the Lancelot C. Thompson Scholarship for tuition but the LSU scholarship helped me with a number of lesser expenses.” 

Annual baile is March 22
This year’s dance, slated for Saturday, March 22, 2008 at UT’s Student Union Auditorium, marks the 36th year that the students of LSU will turn to the community, seeking support for this important scholarship baile.
Houston’s La Mafia and Toledo’s DeZeo are scheduled to perform.  

Truly a worthwhile cause, how can it get better than supporting Latinos in their college endeavors and having a great time all in one night? 

The result of the support that the community has provided over the past three decades is visible throughout the community today as it has been in yesteryear.  Many past scholarship recipients have become positive contributing members of the community, working in a number of areas, including law, education, government, and youth development. 

In the face of the education dilemma that is prevalent in the Latino community, it is essential that the community rise to action when opportunity presents itself to aid those who have overcome the statistics and have made it to college. 

Former recipients
Past recipient Roberto Martínez II—Toledo council legislative assistant—expressed that the community’s role in supporting higher education for our youth entails: “serving as mentors and setting a positive example for those who may not have been exposed to the opportunities available to them.” 

The key term here seems to be opportunity.  Opportunity is something that many of our Latino leadership have been the beneficiaries of, with the LSU scholarship. 

With the growing anti-affirmative action climate, it is imperative that Latinos continue to do what is necessary to economically help themselves. Latinos making it to college have already bested the odds. Scholarship funds serve somewhat as a beacon of light for students who may have lacked the means and resources to attend college. 

Cecilia Rivera, who received LSU scholarships while attending UT, currently serves as the events coordinator for the Office of Special Events at the university.  When asked about the importance of providing scholarships to Latino students, Ms. Rivera noted: “It gives incentives and helps take the financial pressure off. The incentive comes with mandating students to keep their grades up in order to receive the scholarship.” 

This involves raising the bar for our students and demonstrates that in order to be competitive in today’s society we, as a community, must emphasize the value of education to our youth. 

Among the many former students that have received Latino Student Union scholarships are some of the community’s greatest leaders, including: Anita López (Lucas County Auditor), Sabina Elizondo-Serratos (Director of Office of Latino Initiatives at The University of Toledo), Monica Esquivel (YWCA), and María Rodríguez-Winters. They are proof positive that when a community invests in its youth, the youth will give back and the community will reap the benefits. 





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