UW-Milwaukee's Roberto Hernandez Center offers space for Latino, Hispanic students to connect

NOW: UW-Milwaukee’s Roberto Hernandez Center offers space for Latino, Hispanic students to connect

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- At UW-Milwaukee, there is an area for Latino and Hispanic students called the Roberto Hernandez Center, where students connect, network and build a community on campus.

The center has been part of the university for over 50 years.

For students like Javier Retana and Victor Chavez, who study engineering at UWM, being Hispanic in college often means struggling to exist in two worlds. That's why they recently helped create the Society of Hispanic Engineers.

"There's a couple Hispanic groups, but really there's not really much representation for the STEM majors," said Javier. "So it was kind of a great way to get people with similar views, similar majors, get them all together."

"It's comforting to know that not only engineers, but Latino engineers, are starting to come together, and realizing that we can support each other and create a network," said Victor.

In an effort to close the gap, they head to the center of campus where, in an office with couches and tables, they interact with friends who have similar interests.

This space, known as the Roberto Hernandez Center, is dedicated to serving students, Latino groups and the Milwaukee community in a variety of ways.

Jose Trujillo is president of the Latinx student union there. He says this space has given him a university family.

"We all kinda have similar backgrounds, we have a lot of similar goals as well," said Jose. "So I think that if you feel comfortable with certain groups, it can be vital for your success."

"When I was a freshman, I was so happy to find this group, because it reminds me of being at home," said Christina Marquez.

Many students have turned this space into their home. It's a family environment on campus, which is a cultural trait and value in Hispanic and Latino families, and thanks to what Latino students did to fight for a space like this over 50 years ago, there are more and more Latinos at UWM.

That's why these students continue the legacy of those Latino students who fought for this change.

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