By Breana Vincent and Mia Scibelli
The Cuesta chapter of the MEChA club is spending the fall semester focusing on bringing awareness to institutional struggles ChicanX students face.
MEChA is a national group created to â€œpromote higher education for Latino students and break down barriers that get in the way,â€ said Janet Florez, MEChA club advisor and Cuesta Counselor.
Members are planning a Day of the Dead event this November to bring awareness to the deaths of undocumented students that occur while trying to immigrate to America.
They want to use this campaign to highlight the issues these students face.
â€œWe might put up 100 crosses on the lawn. Something that will stand out and make people say â€˜Whatâ€™s that?â€™â€ Florez said.
Another issue MEChA club members are going to bring up this semester is â€œto allow Spanish-speaking students to get credit by exam for language courses,â€ Florez said.
Currently, students cannot get course credit for taking an exam.
â€œ[Weâ€™re] trying to find a solution to make language placement exams possible again,â€ Florez said.
The club has been active since 1994 and has about 25 members. They put on multiple events during the fall and spring semesters to bring awareness to Chicanx culture.
â€œWe had a successful Dia de Los Muertos eventâ€¦ we had cultural activities and taught people how to make papel picado and paper flowersâ€¦ We also had a Cinco de Mayo event with the childrenâ€™s center,â€ Florez said.
MEChA brings local Chicanx high schoolers to Cuesta and talk to them about higher education. By doing this, MEChA can â€œenable students to apply for grants that are only for Hispanic-Serving Institutions like Cuesta,â€ said Florez. 33 percent of students at Cuesta identify as Hispanic.
Florez has hope for the future of both MEChA Â and Cuesta.
â€œThe [students] struggle to make it, but we have a lot of students who have made itâ€¦ The campus needs students to get involved and motivated.â€
The club is still accepting new members. If you would like to join, MEChA meetings are on Wednesdayâ€™s from 12-1 p.m. in room 5104B. If you are unable to attend club meetings, contact Janet Florez at email@example.com.