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First Hispanic student gathering place opens at MSU Billings



Billings, Montana – This Thursday, MSU Billings is holding the grand opening of La Plaza, their newest gathering space, in honor of Hispanic Heritage Month. The event is intended to encourage a feeling of community among Hispanic students by allowing them to showcase their rich cultural diversity.

Despite the fact that MSUB has a little over 300 Hispanic students, many of them struggle to make friends with people who are similar to them, according to Ana Diaz, an associate professor and coordinator of Hispanic outreach. Because of this, she added, the school has observed problems with these students’ retention, despite the fact that the number of Hispanic students attending has been rising each.

According to her, La Plaza was established as a place where Hispanic students could connect with one another, see examples of their own cultures, and discover new ones.

Diaz said, “This is a space for learning and creating communities and I think that’s a really important part of not just college but living with other humans, it is to create communities with others.”

“I want every student to feel like they belong,” she continued.

“When you feel like you are the only one, you just don’t feel like they belong. That is also part of the retention piece for us, students stay when they feel like they belong in a space, but this is their space as well, so that is really important and it’s a really important part of student success.” Said Diaz.

This Thursday is MSUB’s La Plaza grand opening for students, and future activities for the larger community will take place here as well.

According to Diaz, she thinks La Plaza would serve as a venue for Hispanic students to fully engage with the shared culture.


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