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Being Latino at the University of Michigan


Photo by Christina Rodriguez

This was another exciting week at Being Latino! Founder Lance Rios had the honor of  speaking at the welcoming reception for the ALMA (Assisting Latinos to Maximize Achievement) program the University of Michigan.  Lance spoke to the incoming class about the importance of unity, education and open-mindedness as they embark on a new life experience entering college.  Taking pages out of his own storybook to inspire the students, Lance talked about what drove him to create Being Latino.


Photo by Christina Rodriguez

Lance also led a small workshop with a small group of students where they explored their own definitions of being Latino.   Questions were raised concerning the balance they keep between both cultures, whether the Latino community is particularly accepting of the LGBT community and internal racism within the community. The group also developed a discussion point to post on Being Latino new apps for the online fans to answer. The question, “Is it weird when someone says a Spanish word with an English accent? And vice-versa? Gracias!,” received 70 comments within a matter of hours.


Photo by Christina Rodriguez

The weeklong program included ice-breaking events, such as the human knot, musical chairs and a Cumbia dance lesson, which Lance had a bit of difficulty with the footwork.  There was also a Sports Day, which included kickball, a game of two-hand-touch football and a general relaxation in the sun.  With great weather during the day and cool nights, participants enjoyed outdoor interaction time with the Michigan community.  Ending with an old-fashioned BBQ at the Trotter Multicultural Center and an organization fair, Lance had more opportunities to talk one-on-one with members of the university and students about how excited he is about Being Latino.


Photo by Christina Rodriguez

Story by Christina Rodriguez

About Adriana Villavicencio

Dr. Adriana Villavicencio is the youngest child of Ecuadorian immigrants. She has moved 29 times in her life, taking her on a journey from California to Bangalore, India, and New York City, where she recently earned a Ph.D. in Education Leadership and works as a Research Associate at New York University. An avid traveler, Adriana has collected experiences in four different continents and 16 different countries. But as a former high school English teacher, some of her fondest memories are those of her brilliant and brilliantly funny students in Brooklyn and Oakland. Adriana has contributed to several publications including the Daily News and, and is a managing editor for the Journal of Equity in Education. She earned a B.A. in English and an M.A. in English Education at Columbia University, and currently serves on the board of Columbia’s Latino Alumni Association (LAACU). She enjoys scary movies with red vines, Sauvignon Blanc, and her Maltese dog, Napoleon.

To learn more about Adriana’s education consulting company, please visit

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author and should not be understood to be shared by Being Latino, Inc.


  1. Hey Lance,

    I am super proud of what you’re doing. Keep the voice going and make it louder so it can be heard everywhere, maybe DC is next. Let me know and we’ll support your movement.


  2. beinglatino says:

    Thanks. I’m always willing to hear you out! Thanks for the support!

  3. good and important work. I will spread the word about ALMA…

  4. Lance,

    It’s a beautiful thing to see a fellow Latino making moves in the spirit of unity. Remain humble my friend and sky will truly be the limit for you and your team over at Being Latino… I am always here to support my brother!

    Peace & Love, Ivan Sanchez

  5. beinglatino says:

    Mil gracias!

  6. beinglatino says:

    Thanks for advice Ivan. I’m sure you and I will be seeing a ton of each other in the near future.

  7. Jiesela says:

    Much success in all your current & future endeavors!! Being Latino is more than just acceptance of Hispanics in today’s society– It brings forward the different facets of Latino culture & enables our people to education ourselves & the non-latino population that we are more than a mere statistic — We are a revolution!!!

    Kudos to you Lance & best wishes for your success.

  8. beinglatino says:

    Thanks for the kind words Jiesela. This has been a truly enlightening ride.

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