UCLAN is proud to have committed volunteers working hard to make the group a success. Here we profile some of our most active members.
Our featured volunteer is Scott Baillie-Hinojosa, AB '07. Scott grew up in Chicagoland and attended Chicago for his undergraduate studies, earning his degree in Psychology. He has since obtained a Master's Degree in Architecture from Parsons in New York City, where he now lives. Scott is an active member and volunteer for UCLAN and is also active in the LGBT Alumni Network for the University.
Gabriel: Why did you want to become involved in UCLAN?
Scott: I became interested in getting involved because the alumni network in New York City provides a familiar community for fellow alumni to connect and reconnect. College was a very profound life experience for many of us and it's nice to be able reminisce and share our common bonds. Getting involved with the Latino Alumni Association was exciting to me because being Latino is an important part of my identity, and I know so many people from UChicago based on that identity, so it's a place for me to connect with people in a slightly different way.
Gabriel: Where do you see UCLAN going in the next few years?
Scott: I'd like to see the group form a tight community where alumni can connect through their Latino identity. Much like the community we created at UChicago as undergraduates and Latinos - the Latino Alumni Association doesn't need to be just a club or a platform for networking.
Gabriel: Were you active in any of the Latino cultural groups on campus?
Scott: Unfortunately, they were not much a part of my undergraduate experience. I knew a lot of people who participated in various groups, particularly in OLAS, but I was never a member. I did, however, attend many shows and events produced by different Latino student organizations. Having grown up in Hyde Park and the suburbs, I was rather familiar with the Latino culture in Chicago. I often arranged trips with friends to go to Pilsen for the great food or to take advantage of it burgeoning art scene. So despite not being in a club, I still felt very close to the Latino culture in the city and at the University.
Gabriel: What does your Latino identity mean to you?
Scott: My Latino identity is important to me because it helps me appreciate diversity. I am half Mexican, and it reminds me that there are many different kinds of people, even within the Latino community itself. It makes me proud to be a part of a new generation in the United States that embraces its multicultural heritages.
Gabriel: Are you involved in any other Chicago affinity or alumni groups?
Scott: Actually, yes. I was recently elected to the steering committee for the LGBT Alumni Network. I am now a co-liaison to the NYC chapter. I'm excited to work with both groups because I think there is a lot that the Latino affinity group can learn from the LGBT group. It's difficult to get these groups off the ground. The launch of the LGBT group was surprisingly successful. We had an excellent turnout. The second event on the other hand, paled in comparison and was a bit discouraging. We didn't give up though, and slowly we started building a contingency of people that would come because they liked reconnecting with their fellow alumni. The group has been steadily growing ever since and I have high hopes that the same will happen for the Latino alumni group as well.
Gabriel: In closing, is there anything else you would like to add?
Scott: The affinity groups are here to connect us. For a lot of alumni new to the city, having our UChicago community here is a great way to reconnect and feel camaraderie, which I think helps people adjust. And even if you've been in New York for a long time, it's a fantastic way to meet new people. I invite all to come join us!