“It's a brand new position and I will be in charge of fraternities and sororities much like I am here in Toledo,” she said. “Right now they only have NPHC (National Pan-Hellenic) groups, which are the historically African-American fraternities and sororities. The school is ready to strengthen and grow the community, so more than likely we will be doing some expansion and bringing new groups onto campus. The hope is to have a diverse Greek life to match and fit the needs of their campus community.”
In her role at UT, Ms. Rivera oversaw campus Greek life of 30 different chapters from four different councils: Panhellenic (NPC), Interfraternity (IFC), National Pan-Hellenic (NPHC), and Multicultural Greek Council (MGC).
Ms. Rivera’s life has revolved around UT and its student body for the past 15 years, starting as an undergraduate student herself.
“The thing I will miss about UT the most is the students. I work with a pretty amazing group of students,” she said. “As far as what I will miss about Toledo, I think just knowing my way around. I know how to navigate the city, where to go for delicious food, what there is to do for fun and who to call if I need help with anything.”
But Ms. Rivera became well-known in the greater Toledo Latino community for all of her work with and on behalf of Latino students. Her involvement began as a UT student as an active member of the university’s Latino Student Union (LSU) and expanded from there, including the hundreds of students each year who attend UT’s Latino Youth Summit she has helped to organize for several years (usually scheduled in May).
“I am happy to see all of the growth of the Latino Youth Summit since the beginning,” she said. “I am proud to have been an active participant and officer in the UT Latino Alumni Affiliate and, of course, participating on the (Diamante Awards) committee and being a recipient of a Diamante Award [which is a joint project of UT, BGSU, Lourdes University, Owens Community College, and Herzing University – Toledo Campus]. The Latino community embraced and helped develop me here in Toledo.”
One of the Latino Youth Summit’s goals over the years has been to address the Latino achievement gap in Northwest Ohio and the reality of a growing Latino population. The summit each year seeks to arm youth and families with college planning and career path information through sessions about pre-high school and pre-college coursework and information about various occupational fields. Emphasis is placed on the importance of skills in science, math, and technology in today's job market.
Ms. Rivera was born and raised in Willard, Ohio. She is a 1999 graduate of Willard High School. Her mom hails from Texas and her dad was born in México. Both of her parents were migrant farmworkers and still reside in Willard. Ms. Rivera has an older sister and four nieces and nephews.
Overall, Ms. Rivera believes Toledo’s Latino community has advanced “overall,” but she emphasized “there is still work to be done.”
“I think work in the community is never done. We need to continue developing our young people so that there are people to take our places when we move on,” she said. “We need to encourage them academically so they graduate and go on to college or trade school. They are our future so they deserve our investment.”
Ms. Rivera explained that she started job hunting last fall “just to see what was out there.”
“I love UT and the work I am doing with students, but I knew it was time for me to move on and get a different experience and perspective somewhere else,” she said. “I looked at some schools in Ohio, Michigan, Texas, Florida, and, of course, Maryland. Maryland was a gamble, I have never been there, but the position piqued my interest.”
There won’t be a campus farewell party at Ms. Rivera’s request, but she has invited friends, colleagues, and well-wishers to stop by her UT office at Student Union Room 3504 before she departs Thursday, June 26.