Student Voice - Isamar Henriquez '13
As a first generation student and Latina, it was very difficult for me to decide which university to attend, especially because I did not have anyone to guide me through the steps. I received a PLU acceptance packet after applying to several local schools. I had heard PLU was one of the great local 4-year universities and was intrigued by the amount of comments and congratulations on the acceptance letter I received. I decided to go to campus to see what PLU was like. At first it was very difficult to identify, but I realized there was something that drew me in even closer and made me choose PLU. I wasn’t sure if it was the students or the faculty and staff.
On my first day, I participated in opening convocation and it was great -- an experience I had never even imagined I would experience and I felt extremely proud of myself for accomplishing so much in the hopes of getting into a university like PLU and becoming a Lute.
Once I arrived on campus and started classes, I found it tricky to find my place but soon found a home I now do not want to leave: the Diversity Center. In my first year I discovered what it was like to be an active leader and found a great connection through the Diversity Center. I became a co-president for the Latinos Unidos Club of PLU and a Rieke Scholar. These were two great ways of becoming connected to social justice issues and a way to find other peers interested in the same topics. Thanks to this involvement, I discovered my passion and vocation for Political Science and social justice along with it.
Now in my fourth year at PLU, I am a Diversity Advocate for the Diversity Center specifically for International Programs. I am finding that the Diversity Center has not only provided me with leadership opportunities, but has taught me so much about social justice and helped me build stronger relationships with peers around campus. It has also taught me to provide support and advocate for the things I believe in. PLU’s mission to prepare students to lead lives of thoughtful inquiry, service, leadership and care has been deeply in rooted in me. The courses and the amount of leadership I have indulged in have significantly impacted the way I see what vocation is and what I want to do for the rest of my life.
I now understand that the sense of community between the students, faculty and staff is what drew me to PLU. In addition to the friendly environment around campus, the amount of help students receive and the care from professors and staff members really do make a difference and it is what PLU offered me. PLU is not only the university I attend but it is my home and support network for social justice and leadership opportunities. Here I am offered a chance to connect with outside communities and build career connections. Thanks goes to PLU for showing me that when the time comes, I will be ready to wave goodbye to my PLU home and embark on the new journey to success.