Destino’s Leadership with a Purpose

February 12, 2011 by · Comments Off 

By Wesleigh Ogle

A small group gathered the evening of February 10, Thursday, in the Martha Proctor Mack Ballroom for Leadership With a Purpose, hosted by the SMU chapter of Destino. The Destino Movement is a nationwide student-led organization with the purpose to connect Latinos to God and one another.

Esmeralda Sanchez, a 2009 SMU graduate who started the SMU chapter of Destino in 2008, opened the presentation and welcomed the speakers.

“Just like the title of the event, we know that you’re here with a purpose,” she said. “We hope that tonight will be a blessing to you.”

The speakers, Dr. Gus Reyes and Jonas Gonzalez, both encouraged the audience to follow their dreams, be good leaders and build a relationship with God.

Dr. Gus Reyes, director of the Hispanic Education Initiative, and Jonas Gonzalez, president of Enlace, pose with SMU students after the Destino Meeting on Leadership With a Purpose. (PHOTO BY WESLEIGH OGLE / SMU DAILY MUSTANG)

Seventeen tables were set up in the grand ballroom. When only ten people showed up, the plans changed and the gathering became more intimate.

Instead of standing on stage, Reyes and Gonzalez interacted with the audience. They told stories of their childhoods and how they became successful.

Reyes said his best piece of advice is to listen for God.

“Take that next step and get ready for the best ride of your life,” he said. “It’s scary, but you can count on him.”

Gonzalez, the president of Enlace, a Christian TV network in Spanish, spoke in Spanish and his daughter translated. He told students to find a job in something they enjoy so their occupation is their hobby.

When a student asked about changing majors, he said, “If you have to change and change and change, it doesn’t matter. But when you find it, let it be a life effort.”

Reyes advised college students to find mentors who are in the place they want to be in the future. He said to choose this mentor based on his or her character and integrity not corporate success.

The discussion then turned to leadership and what is required to be a leader. Gonzalez said a leader must have a message to influence others.

“If our life doesn’t have a message, our message doesn’t have life,” he said.

Reyes said leaders must help their followers reach their full potential. He said leaders sometimes make difficult decisions about people, but a successful leader helps others succeed.

However, leadership is lonely, Reyes warned.
“There is some loneliness about leadership that only leaders can know about.” he said. “The good news is that we have a God who can help us through that loneliness.”

Dr. Gus Reyes, the director of the Hispanic Education Initiative/Affinity Ministries for the Baptist General Convention of Texas speaks about he became successful through his faith and with the help of the Lord. Reyes is also the co-writer of "30 Days, Turning the Hearts of Parents and Teens towards Each Other." (PHOTO BY GRACE ROBERTS / SMU DAILY MUSTANG)

Gonzalez had a less spiritual approach. He said a leader can be the boss, but not every boss is a leader. He said a boss looks for extraordinary people, while a leader looks for ordinary people to make them extraordinary. He also said a boss says ‘go,’ but a leader says ‘let’s go’ and asked the audience which they would rather be.

At the end of the presentation, Reyes spoke about being both a leader and a Latino.

“You are a global leader because of your heritage,” he said. “You see things differently… The United States needs you.”

Although the audience was small, the event had an impact on those who attended.

“It was reassuring that it’s ok if things change and… God has a purpose for my life,” Jacqueline Ross, an SMU sophomore, said. “I know that my journey will be blessed if I follow his purpose.”

Cindy Trujillo, an SMU junior, also felt reassued.

“It’s relieving to see that you aren’t the only one who goes through these struggles,” she said.

Destino meets every Friday from noon to 1p.m. in Hughes-Trigg Atriums C and D.

Campus News Blog: Minority Students

February 28, 2010 by · Comments Off 

Posted by Kathryn Sharkey

I recently read an article from Newsweek about minority graduation rates. It has some pretty shocking information such as “The graduation rates for blacks, Latinos, and Native Americans lag far behind the graduation rates for whites and Asians.As the minority population grows in the United States, low college graduation rates become a threat to national prosperity.”

This got me wondering about SMU.

SMU has made it a priority in recent years to attract more minority students and has several programs within the Dallas area for Dallas students. But how well is SMU doing at attracting minority students?

And how is it doing at keeping and graduating the students it attracts?

I looked up the statistics from the Office of Institutional Research and found that the percent of black undergraduate students on campus has fallen from 5.2% in the fall of 2006 to 4.8% in the fall of 2009. Also, while 72% of white students graduate within six years, only 54.7% of black students do, according to The Education Trust and Newsweek.

However, the graduation rate for Latino students is almost equal to whites at 71.4%.

It seems that SMU needs to work harder to attract, keep, and graduate minority students.

I need to do more investigation to see what SMU is currently doing to help minority students, but the Newsweek article mentions the success other schools have had with mentoring groups. If we don’t already have programs like this, perhaps that is one place to start.

Campus News Blog: Spicing Up Hispanic Heritage Month

October 1, 2009 by · Comments Off 

Posted by Katherine Helms

College Hispanic American Students kicked off Hispanic Heritage Month by celebrating in true Hispanic style. Students gathered as the Boulevard heated up with Latino music and dance, while also having the opportunity to connect with other Hispanic students and taste delectable Spanish cuisine.
Hispanic Heritage Month was first approved in 1968 by President Lydon Johnson and was later extended in 1988 by President Ronald Reagan to last for 30 days. Today it is celebrated from Sept. 15 until Oct. 15. September 15 was named the first day of this celebration because it marks the anniversary of independence for five Latin American countries.
CHAS serves as a governing board to all Latino based organizations on campus. All students are welcome to join the organization and partake in numerous events planned, as well as learn more about the Hispanic culture. Upcoming events include Dia de los Muertos, Hispanic Issues Forum, SAMSA Gala and more. Enjoy the remaining 15 days of Hispanic Heritage Month in Latino style!