Building ‘Comunidad’ The Nuestro Hogar Latino theme house's new location accommodates more students and offers expanded space for programming.
The Nuestro Hogar Latino theme house aims to provide a community and environment in which Latinx cultures, issues and identities are promoted and acknowledged. Tour Washington and Lee’s home for comunidad in its new location on Henry Street.
The house invites students to celebrate the commonalities and differences within a Latinx identity inclusive of all ethnic, racial, linguistic and cultural backgrounds. Residential Life staff work with Student Affairs and student organizations to sponsor social and cultural programming within the house’s common spaces to promote a greater understanding and appreciation of the cultures within Latin America and the Caribbean.
“Nuestro Hogar Latino was in large part the brainchild of Edwin Castellanos Campos ’20, who saw an opportunity to create a community for students of Latin American origin or descent,” said Chris Reid, director of Residential Life. “The term Latinx was specifically used to be more gender inclusive or nonbinary. Nuestro Hogar Latino translates to ‘our Latin home.’ Edwin worked with the Office of Inclusion and Engagement and the Office of Residence Life to find a space on campus that would bring this goal to fruition.”
The theme house’s dining room can seat more than 20 students, and the large kitchen allows space to prepare community meals. Plus, there is a furnished basement space ideal for large gatherings.
In addition to residential life programming, the space is also available for collaborative events with Comunidad Latina Estudiantil (CLE), W&L’s Latinx student organization. CLE hosted a variety of events at the house during Hispanic Heritage Month, including “Tíos Weekend,” which offered programming during Parents and Family Weekend for students whose families could not travel to the event. The organization also recently hosted an event in collaboration with the Counseling Center as part of the End the Stigma series on mental health awareness.
Sharon Mendieta Ramirez ’23 enjoys the community-building involved in her role as Nuestro Hogar Latino’s community assistant (CA).
“As CA, I like to offer a variety of programs and activities for my residents,” Ramirez said. “Some examples include house dinners, ice cream socials, movie nights, pumpkin carving and painting, holiday cookie decorating and Valentine’s Day letter writing. My residents are the reason why Nuestro Hogar Latino is such a wonderful community. Each of them brings something so unique to our campus. They are the light that makes our community shine.”
“Each theme house has their own mission or purpose, but they all share a common thread, and that is to have a safe and comfortable living environment where students can express themselves freely in a variety of ways, while also opening their doors to others in the campus community who are interested in supporting their shared community mission,” Reid said. “Cultural theme houses such as Nuestro Hogar Latino will continue to serve as a community space where students can gather to celebrate commonalities and differences, and to promote a greater understanding of and appreciation for individuals from diverse cultures.”