In finding Spanish-language communities on campus as a first-year student, University of Nebraska–Lincoln senior Dalilah Valdez has grown into a leader in multiple RSOs that celebrate diversity on campus.
College is much more than your major, Valdez said.
“People always hear ‘College is going to be the best time of your life!’ And although people’s passions might ignite in the classroom, I don’t think that’s always because of what happens in class,” she said.
While there are lots of great reasons for getting involved on campus, Valdez views her involvement in RSOs as a way to build a network that supports her and makes her feel part of a community — and she invites others to do the same.
“When I first came to UNL, I felt a little isolated not hearing anyone besides my roommate speak Spanish,” Valdez said. “Being a part of RSOs on campus — especially those that are culturally based — has given me a space and community to use my voice around and be passionate about inclusivity.”
It was an encouraging friend that first got Valdez to the student union her freshman year to check out a Mexican American Student Association booth.
It didn’t take long, however, for Valdez to realize this was where she belonged.
“In my first meeting I was like, ‘Before I graduate, I’m going to be president,” she said. “This is just so cool.’”
She did, in fact, become president of MASA. The criminal justice and criminology and sociology double major has also been heavily involved in the Delta Xi Nu Multicultural Sorority, which, once again, took a friend to coax her into trying out.
“I had a friend — again — who was like, ‘Just come check it out with me,’” Valdez said. “The people in Delta Xi Nu described their mission at the university to me and how they wanted to make changes around inclusivity on campus. I really admired that.”
Like all RSOs, Valdez’s involvements in MASA and Delta Xi Nu have spanned everything from social gatherings with tons of food to philanthropies and volunteer work.
Mainly, though, Valdez urges her fellow Huskers to get involved for the friends and memories they’ll make.
“A lot of our memories don’t come from the classroom,” she said. “They come from the people we meet and the experiences and memories we’ll have.”