Date of this Version
Rodriguez, N. M. (2019). Latinidad in the College Union: Perspectives of Latinx Staff Members. (Master's thesis). University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Lincoln, Nebraska.
Latinx students represent a consistently growing and significant population of college going students, though rates for successful graduation vary greatly (Nichols, 2017). Theories of student persistence indicate that student who are actively involved in their college campuses and develop a sense of sense of belonging are likelier to persist to graduation (Hurtado & Carter, 1997; Tinto, 1975). While research seeks to understand how Latinx navigate and succeed in post-secondary environments, barriers continue to pervade in their cumulative environments (Franklin, 2016; Friesen, 2018; Gloria, Delgado-Guerrero, Salazar, Nieves, Mejia & Martinez, 2016). College unions, as a functional part of the college environment, explain their purpose as a central point of community building and inclusion (Butts et al., 2012; Rullman & Harrington, 2014). However, empirical knowledge focused specifically on confirming college union environments as positive support systems for Latinx identities is relatively non-existent (Barrett, 2014; Smith, 2019).
Using a qualitative, narrative mode of inquiry (Clandinin & Connelly, 1990; Clandinin, 2013; Kim, 2016) framed by the culturally engaging campus model (Museus, 2014), this research consisted of four current student affairs, Latinx identifying participants who revealed perspectives of support for Latinx students in the broad college campus environment and specifically within college unions. Two primary themes arose from the data: seeking community in the college environment and the college union as a meeting place or a meaning place with relevant subthemes. Using these themes, a composite fictional narrative was created based on the perspectives of the participants. A model displaying the socialization of community building by Latinx students is also presented.
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