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Manuel Medina’17: Growth and Empowerment Through Brown Bags

By Christelle Boursiquot '15 on December 21, 2013
Manuel Medina '17

Manuel Medina ’17

Meet Manuel Medina ’17: for those who know him, he goes by Manny, and in some cases, “Little Manny” (to avoid confusion with another OUS Scholar, Manuel Heredia – Santoyo ’14). As a first-year, Manny is already very  involved in a variety of campus activities. Originally from Washington Heights in New York City, NY, Manny is a student scholar, the Alumni Affairs Coordinator for Brothers, and an intern for the Africana and Latin American Studies (ALST) Program. He is also an active member in the Latin American Student Association (LASO), Caribbean Student Association (CSA), and Sisters of the Round Table (SORT).

On October 10, 2013, Manny brought to fruition his involvement on campus by hosting, through Brothers, his first Brown Bag: The Hispanic Heritage Month Brown Bag. This event was the result of hard work, leadership, growth, and empowerment.

Describe the Brown Bag and its purpose.

We [Brothers] decided to have a Brown Bag discussing on how generational gaps affect the Latino community and how it relates to this idea of “authenticity.” Generational gaps in the Latino community both encompasses but unfortunately divides Latinos who were born in their native country, Latinos whose parents immigrated to the United States, and Latinos whose family immigrated decades ago. The purpose of the Brown Bag is to create dialogues for those who are a part of a group experiencing the generational gap by enabling them to see shared and communal experiences that will help them to bring the Latino community together. In addition, it is a great opportunity to offer different perspectives on a prevalent issue that is often ignored, because it requires an array of different viewpoints to arrive at any resolution. Lastly, the Brown Bag sought to help the Latinos in the Colgate community either build or solidify their identity.

Please explain what inspired you to host a Hispanic Heritage Month Brown Bag. 

For Hispanic Heritage Month, Brothers wanted to show its support and to be involved. Hearing about an opportunity to not only help Brothers demonstrate its presences and leadership on campus but also to address an issue on campus that too often gets ignored on campus peaked my interest. I volunteered to set up a Brown Bag and collaborated with members in Brothers, departments, and professors to set up the event. The opportunity to discuss such a prevalent and important issue is what inspired me to create and host the Brown Bag.

Tell me about the importance of stepping up to leadership on a campus such as Colgate, especially in your experience as an OUS scholar.

As an OUS Scholar, the early immersion into college allowed me to have to confidence in my abilities and kindled a desire to make a lasting impact on campus by advocating for others and breaking a cycle of complacency. I try to be as prolific as possible to make Colgate a more nurturing and accepting place for people of all genders, race, and backgrounds.

How has this experience impacted you as a student? a family member? a leader? an individual?

Creating this brown bag has instilled in me a new sense of ownership, responsibility, and self-confidence. It has empowered me to create more events for the spring and to help other groups around campus. A future Brown Bag I am considering with my other freshman Brothers is “Why is dating taboo at Colgate?” Moreover, it has shown me that brown bags are instrumental in enlightening people about an issue that might not necessarily affect them on an every-day basis. In addition, it is a powerful way to create a more engaged, aware, and accepting community at Colgate. As a piece of advice for anyone interested or curious about discussing an issue, just ask around and do not hesitate to share your ideas. Discussing this issue among interested peers has made me feel less ostracized, marginalized, and more welcomed in a community with completely different backgrounds than mine.

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