‘Genuine Connections’ Found At The Heart of ALAS

Anthony Navarrete Figueroa was a quiet, introverted student when he began his freshman year at the University of Nebraska at Omaha.

That changed in his sophomore year when he learned about the Association of Latino American Students. He walked into his first meeting of the club not knowing what to expect. However, it took only an introduction to the club for him to realize that he found his home at UNO.

“After walking into ALAS, it didn’t take me long to find people like me who I could relate to,” Navarrette Figueroa said.

The connections Navarrete Figueroa, now a junior studying architectural engineering, created in his first year as a general member of ALAS drove him to seek a leadership position in the club. As the organization’s current president, Navarrete Figueroa has seen firsthand how ALAS is able to cultivate strong relationships among its members.

“It’s crazy how fast people can connect in this organization,” he said. “Even if you don’t see them regularly, members will pick up a conversation during meetings like they were just talking the night before.”

Those opportunities to come together and deepen relationships within the ALAS community are made possible through gifts made to the club during Wear Black, Give Back. Navarrete Figueroa said the money raised during last year’s day of giving played a critical role in providing programming and resources for the club this year.

In addition to funding programming and resources for the club, Navarrete Figueroa said he hopes to use the money raised during this year’s Wear Black, Give Back to provide ALAS with the opportunity to attend the 2024 United States Hispanic Leadership Institute National Conference.

“We really appreciate all of the support from the donors who have invested money into ALAS during Wear Black, Give Back,” Navarrete Figueroa said. “These gifts are going to really help us.”

By making a gift to ALAS during Wear Black, Give Back, Navarrete Figueroa said donors are able to play a direct role in fostering growth for the Latinx community on UNO’s campus. The impact of their gifts can clearly be seen by looking at the students who call ALAS home.

“I see those genuine connections being made in ALAS,” he said. “I see students walking in as strangers and leaving as friends. We all come from similar backgrounds, and we want our students to know that this is an environment that they can feel comfortable in.”

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