PLASA’s Inaugural Latine History Series

May 2, 2024
Odette Perrusquia

On campus, I am a part of the leadership team for the Princeton Latin American Student Association (PLASA). PLASA is the largest of the many Latine student organizations on campus. The leadership team consists of eight different committees and elected officers who work together to host a wide variety of events for Latine students. These events range from professional development workshops to informal brunches and other exciting social events.


Although a large focus for PLASA has traditionally revolved around programming during Latine Heritage Month at the start of the fall semester, PLASA recently organized the inaugural Latine History Series. This series aimed to increase the number of events hosted during the spring semester, as well as to commemorate the work of Latine activists who have paved the way for current generations of student leaders.


The theme for this year was Women in Activism, and we organized three weekends of events. The first weekend centered around the role that storytelling plays within activism, particularly the power of sharing personal narratives within activist spaces. As the Chair of the Hermanitas Committee, my committee and I were largely responsible for planning and executing this weekend’s events. On Friday night, we hosted “Tiempo de Cuentos,” an intimate event that brought together students to share their own creative works related to the series’ theme. We listened to each other read poems and short stories while enjoying light snacks. The following day, we hosted “Why Would I Mispronounce My Own Name?: A Performance by Irma Herrera and Panel Discussion.” We welcomed Irma Herrera and her one-woman show, coordinated a panel discussion between her and other local activists, and hosted a reception immediately after. It was lovely to be in community with so many other students and engage in discussions about our collective experiences with Latinidad.


PLASA Co-President and Hermanitas Chair pose with guest performer, Irma Herrera.
After the event, PLASA's Co-President and I posed for a picture with Irma Herrera. Her performance meant a lot to all that attended.


The second weekend consisted of a panel discussion and reception with Latine alumni whose careers center on advocacy and activism. During the last weekend, PLASA welcomed American labor leader and civil rights activist, Dolores Huerta, to give a guest lecture. Some of us even had the opportunity to attend a small reception with her before the lecture.


Hermanitas Chair poses with labor leader and civil rights activist, Dolores Huerta.


Although there were many logistics to consider when planning the series, it was also extremely fun to work as a team and explore the behind the scenes involved in carrying out these kinds of events. For the Hermanitas Committee, this involved applying for funding from the University, purchasing food and ordering catering services, coordinating with campus theater staff, reaching out to networks of local activists, and working closely with our guest to secure her travel and lodging. This is a testament to the sort of resources and support available to student leaders interested in hosting all kinds of functions.


The Latine History Series represents only some of many opportunities to come into community with other Latine students. Joining the PLASA leadership team and getting to help create events for the broader campus community has been one of the most rewarding experiences during my time at Princeton and has greatly contributed to my sense of belonging on campus. I look forward to continuing to work with this team in the upcoming year and welcoming new first-year Latines to campus in the fall.