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Latinx graduation banquet changes venue to accommodate waitlisted students

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DePaul senior Cynthia Rios was disappointed to learn that the dress she bought for the Latinx graduation banquet  would never be used as she, like many others, was waitlisted for the event. Last week, however, she learned she’ll be able to wear her dress to the banquet as the location was changed to a larger room.

“I felt really ecstatic and as if it was too good to be true. I have been so stressed with work, school and finding a new job after graduation that this good news really brightened up my day,” Rios said.

The new date, June 4, is a problem for her parents, but they are trying to adjust their schedules to be able to attend the graduation.

After contacting many offices and faculty members, the Center for Latino Research’s Director Elizabeth Martinez said they were able to book a larger room to hold the Latinx graduation banquet so that more students can attend.   

“It’s just so fortunate, so wonderful to have found a space that can accommodate everyone,” Martinez said.

Instead of the event’s original date on June 3 in Cortelyou Commons, it will now be held a day later in the afternoon in the Student Center room 120. Before only about 41 students were able attend because of the significantly smaller size of Cortelyou. However, Martinez said now around 100 students will be able to go, and everyone who was on the waitlist was accepted.

They originally considered having two sessions, but Cortelyou Commons was already booked in the morning on June 3 and it was less practical to have it on two separate days.

Martinez said they have sent out emails to those who have RSVP’d to inform them about the day and time changes. They also emailed those who were waitlisted to inform them that they are no longer on the waitlist so that they could confirm their attendance.

DePaul senior Michelle Ramirez was on the waitlist but will now be able to attend.

“I’m most excited about seeing the parents’ reactions. As Latinx families, a great amount of our parents are not fluent in English and have a distant relationship with our academics and so this morning will be an opportunity to merge the two together,” Ramirez said.

The banquet will begin at 11 a.m. on Sunday June 4. “The first hour is for this wonderful live music and for people to meet and greet and find their table and then the program will be at noon,” Martinez said. She said it works out because it is still a week ahead of the commencement ceremonies.

Even though it is good news, Martinez said she is still trying to find all the funding since the banquet is now almost double the size.

Martinez said two departments have offered $500 each, and she just received an email from a vice president in student services who is going to help as well.

“We’re still short about $2,000, but I’ll keep pursuing it and if nothing else, the dean knows that we are trying to take care of this because we really want to be able to,” Martinez said. “The most important thing for all of us is that we are meeting students’ needs.”

For next year, Martinez said they would like to have more students become involved. They want to form a committee earlier in the year and have students on the committee.

Although the Latinx graduation banquet has always been held on the Saturday before commencements, Martinez said they are going to look into the option of holding the banquet during the week and in the evening, similar to the graduation for students of African descent, or keep it on a Sunday if students say that worked better this year.

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Latinx graduation banquet changes venue to accommodate waitlisted students