Rising Minority, Rising Leadership
These are the faces of a group making their presence known. With roots in Puerto Rico, Guatemala, Mexico and Columbia, these students are firmly planted with a sense of cultural solidarity.
"It's really been a really important part of me I don't want to lose that culture that I have. It's a beautiful thing," said freshman Brandi Gillespie.
With MU's Hispanic population steadily growing, the Hispanic American Leadership Organization, HALO, is stepping in to provide strength through support for Hispanic students. This year it held the first ever MU Latino orientation.
"I just hope what we've accomplished today will give them a boost, give them a jump start, and really make their experience here at Mizzou a great one," said freshman Tessa Ortiz.
Some of the students who came say they're ready to jump on board to grow HALO into a something much bigger in the future.
"Hopefully I can come to all the meetings and do everything I can to help them out," said freshman Miguel Amador.
Others found a sense of comfort in discovering language isn't the only thing defining them as member of the Hispanic community.
"I feel really comfortable. I don't know Spanish so I'm not a real Hispanic but that's not true," said freshman Samantha Genochio.
Today they formed their circle of support, a support to last them throughout their days to come as new leaders in one of MU's largest growing minority groups.