The Student News Site of University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma

The Trend

The Student News Site of University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma

The Trend

The Student News Site of University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma

The Trend

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UHC Enters New Generation of Leadership

Kaelynn Torres presents big goals in her first trimester as president
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Mary-Grace McNutt
Kaelynn Torres, UHC’s president, is surrounded by her executive board, including (from left) Kate Sosa, Christy Chavez, Ulises Zatarain, David Orgas, and Gissell Castillo.

The United Hispanic Council (UHC) is an organization on campus that provides a way for students of different backgrounds to connect and learn about other cultures. The organization’s goal is to provide a space for students of different cultures and nationalities to learn about other backgrounds.  

In the 2022-2023 academic year, UHC hosted four meetings throughout the year, a decrease from when it was first organized. Kaelynn Torres, recently elected UHC president, said she hopes to build the organization back up. Torres represents a new generation of UHC leadership, as Arlette Melendez, UHC’s founder graduated in the spring of 2022.  

“UHC started off really well when it was first organized, and over the last year, it diminished,” Torres said. “Not as many people knew about it and were interested in joining, and they didn’t really know what to expect from it.”  

Torres said she wants to make UHC a place of diversity and representation among students of various backgrounds. She said she hopes to get the organization more involved and build a community on campus made up of Hispanic, international, and other students as well.  

David Orgas, UHC secretary, said he hopes UHC lets people feel more connected with other Hispanic and international students and gives them a space to share about their backgrounds. He said he wants the members of UHC to become knowledgeable about various cultures and heritages. 

“I’m proud of my heritage and I want to represent more of that on campus for others,” Orgas said. “I want other Hispanic and international students to feel more connected with people.”  

Jordan Vinyard, faculty advisor of UHC, said she believes that the organization can turn into a flagship for minority students when deciding what university to attend. She said she believes that USAO is a good fit for minority students, but our minority population on campus and in town is not large enough. 

“I think sometimes it can be a struggle to get connected in a community when students are looking for colleges that are a good fit for them. If that is something we can facilitate then why not? If we happen to be the people that can best establish that link and we’re serving a student population that we see succeed, then there is only benefit for both parties,” Vinyard said. 

Along with forming a community on campus, every year UHC fundraises and gives a scholarship to a student who does not receive financial aid. These students include international, undocumented, and Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) students. The scholarship, the United Dream Scholarship, is a $500 scholarship awarded to one of these students to pay for various college expenses.  

The scholarship is funded by fundraisers UHC hosts, and Torres said she wants to hold more fundraisers during her time as president. Orgas said he hopes that in the future, the fundraisers UHC hosts become more successful with how much money they raise. He said he hopes that in the future, the scholarship can be of a larger amount, and they can give out more than just one scholarship each year. 

“I hope to have more events and fundraisers again,” Torres said. “Our fundraisers help provide scholarships for undocumented, international, and DACA students who may not receive enough financial assistance.” 

UHC plans to meet every Wednesday in the Music Pocket of Nash Library. The club is hosting their Lotería Game Night in Station 182 from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 4. For more information and updates follow UHC on Instagram (@uhcusao). 

 

Luka Messick is a first-year physics major at the Univeristy of Science and Arts of Oklahoma. 

Ray Thomas-Lapham
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About the Contributors
Luka Messick, Contributing Writer
Luka is a first-year physics major from Tulsa. He loves music and spends most of his free time listening to music. Luka played the clarinet in high school and was part of his school's front ensemble for marching season and winter percussion season. Luka also plays video games with his friends. Since he has been on campus, Luka has joined SPS and PRISM.   Experience with The Trend: Contributing Writer: Sept. 2023 - present
Mary-Grace McNutt, Senior Writer
Mary-Grace is a third-year communication and speech language pathology major from Moore. Mary-Grace is a part of the Drover Dancers and works for the Student Media Team, where she produces videos and takes photos around campus. She loves photography and wants to be a sports photographer after college.   Experience with The Trend: Senior Writer: May 2022 - present Contributing Writer: Aug. 2021 - April 2022