BackgroundInterview Date:October 2018
Gender Identity: Male
Sexual Orientation: Gay
Graduation Year: 2021
High School Experience: Public school in Queens, NY with a graduating class of about 75 students. There was a culture of going to college.
First Generation College Student: Yes
Extracurricular Activities: I am part of the budget committee of the student government. I am part of the Hispanic Society of Lafayette. I’m part of Landis, which is a volunteering organization. [Through Landis, I work for a] tutoring program at the YMCA. I’m also a resident advisor.
Did any of your extracurricular activities have a particularly big impact on your experience?
Being a resident assistant and being part of student government. Through student government, I work a lot with other clubs and explain to them how money should be spent, and sometimes people aren’t too happy with the amount of money allocated to them so that can be a difficult situation. It’s also introduced me to different clubs and people on campus, which has expanded my network of friends. Being a resident assistant, you have to memorize their names to make them feel at home, you have to provide accurate answers quickly to residents and also making bulletin boards can take a huge chunk of time.
What has been your favorite class so far?
Latin American Politics. We talked about politics in Latin American countries, including Mexico and Brazil, and finished the semester writing a paper on the topic of our choice. It is the most interesting course I’ve taken so far.
What has been your least favorite class so far?
Intro to Microeconomics. It was really difficult and calculus based.
Is there anything you feel Lafayette has done especially well or poorly academically?
Considering that I am trying to pursue an Economics and Government & Law degree, I do see that there is more emphasis on the STEM majors than the humanities majors at times. Sometimes it’s really difficult to find resources for help.
How would you describe the learning environment? Do you think it’s particularly collaborative or competitive?
I feel that it varies. When I take my Government & Law courses I feel that it’s a bit more collaborative and we build on each other’s ideas. My Economics courses tend to be more difficult and it feels like a more competitive environment compared to my Government & Law classes.
Do you think people are open to multiple schools of thought in the classroom?
I don’t think everyone’s as outspoken with their point of views. There are definitely different types of thoughts going on, but they’re not displayed by the students. I feel that some of them might feel a bit more reluctant to speak out than others.
How accessible have your professors been?
For the most part, they’ve been very accessible. I usually go to their office hours. They usually respond to emails quickly and are usually open to sticking around after class to answer questions.
How was transitioning academically as a first-generation college student?
When I transitioned from high school to Lafayette they don’t have what they have now, which is a first-year specialist. It was really challenging for me when it came to STEM-related matters, like calculus I had to put extra effort into. For my papers and analytical writing work, I feel like my high school prepared me well for that.
On and Around Campus
Where have you lived on campus?
Freshman & Sophomore: Watson Hall with one roommate freshman year and sophomore year as a Resident Adviser
How was transitioning from Queens to Easton, PA?
At first, it didn’t really hit me that I moved from a city to a small town. Towards the second semester of freshman year, I started to miss the big city and not needing to have a car. For the most part, I think this year I’ve been able to cope with it more. I think that’s partially due to the fact that I have friends who can drive so I can leave campus more frequently. It definitely was a challenge when it came to accessibility and trying to get to places off campus.
What is your favorite off-campus restaurant?
La Perla Tapatia. Anything Latino reminds me of home, so that’s definitely my favorite restaurant off campus.
What is your favorite place to get away from campus?
I like to go back to New York City.
Pros and Cons of being located in Easton, PA?
Pros: (1) It’s quiet.
(2) I feel in touch with nature. I enjoy that because there are trees and grass, so in the springtime you can sit outside and do homework.
(3) There is Bacon Fest, which occurs annually in Easton, PA. I love food, so that’s pretty great.
Cons: (1) If it’s a just a regular weekend, there’s nothing happening in town. There’s a lack of events.
(2) We’re located on a hill, so when it snows it is really not easy to go down the hill.
(3) How far other places are from Easton.
What kind of nightlife or weekend activities do you participate in?
I like to go out to parties. I do that or just stay in bed.
What nights of the week do you like to go out? Are there certain things you do on certain nights?
Freshman year it was a lot on the weekends. This year it’s also a lot on the weekends but I’ve gone out a few times no the weekdays because some of my friends are in fraternities and sororities so I get invited to their activities. It varies from location to location, but I do try to have a mix of Greek parties and events and cultural group parties.
Do freshman boys have trouble getting into parties?
I think for fraternity and sorority parties it is more difficult for freshmen boys to get into their parties, but other parties and events are pretty accessible. From my experience, I personally didn’t have trouble getting into parties, but I know some of my other friends have.
Has being a person who defines as LGBT influenced your nightlife experience?
Not really. I have a few gay friends here on campus and we go out sometimes together, but it doesn’t really affect where I go and who I hang out with.
How happy are you with the nightlife options at Lafayette? Is there anything you would change if you could?
I’m satisfied with the party scene. It is definitely a change in culture and music taste going to a school that is predominantly White and where the frats are predominantly White. It’s sometimes difficult to get excited about music you don’t really enjoy, so one thing I would change is to have a multicultural fraternity, so that way I would want to participate in a fraternity.
How did you meet your closest friends?
I met half of them through the Hispanic Society of Lafayette and I met the other half by being at the Student Center and having conversations.
How would you describe the overall social scene?
It’s a good social scene overall. There is something here for everyone on campus. You find your little friend group and you either participate in events or just hang out in your dorm. I don’t think the social life is bad, I think it could be improved, but it exists and I think is working.
To what extent do people of different races and sexual orientations mix socially?
I’d say rarely. It almost never occurs. There are a lot of Whites staying with Whites, Black staying with Blacks, Latinos with Latinos, or just people of color staying together. There’s a little mingling that happens in the center ethnicity-wise. From the perspective of a person who is Latino and also Gay, I feel like we mingle more with different sexualities within the people of color. We have a specific LGBT group here for people of color, so we have created our own space to deal with those issues and allow for different sexual orientations to get together. I feel like that stays within groups, so the White people have their own group and the people of color have their groups. There is never a huge overlap between races.
How strong is the Latino community at Lafayette?
There has been an increase in our numbers, but what we lack is a focal point to strengthen our relationship. Yes, we do have a club for Latinos. But, I feel that recently the club has been experiencing a decline in participation and without that club we don’t really unite or socialize as much as an entire group.
How strong is the LGBT community at Lafayette?
From my perspective, the LGBT community is not really out there.
Do you think people are happy with their choice of Lafayette by the time they graduate? Do you think people leave loving Lafayette?
Based on conversations I’ve had over the past two years with seniors, they enjoy it. Overall, they’ve enjoyed Lafayette and, to some point, they’ll miss it. They continued going there because they enjoyed it. By senior year I think the memories and friends they created will compensate for whatever bad memories you have.
Has the alumni network helped you find internships or jobs?
For last year I wouldn’t say so. But, after seeing the opportunities that are given through the college alumni, I would say Lafayette has a strong advantage in that. I know people who have benefitted from the alumni network. I haven’t, but I do know it has a strong contribution to career services.
What have you used the career office for? How helpful was it?
They’ve been extremely helpful. Every student has a counselor and you can reach out to them whenever you need them. They’ve helped me check my resume, look for internships, and reach out to alumni. They also help with externships that happen during our breaks. I think they’re pretty good at what they do and I love my counselor.
Have you learned any computer programs or languages through your coursework that will be helpful to you professionally?
I’ve learned Excel in my Economics courses and my accounting class. I’ve been using it more frequently and it’s nice to know. Statistics courses have taught me how to use different software.
Advice for Prospective Freshmen
What is something you wish you knew about Lafayette before entering as a freshman?
I wish I’d known was that not all the dining services are provided during the weekends and during breaks. If you’re planning to stay on campus during a break there’s only one dining hall open with limited services, so you need to go food shopping.
What is something a prospective LGBT student may want to know that we haven’t touched on?
Understand that it’s a smaller campus so there are fewer people who identify the same way. Being a person of color who also identifies as Gay, it’s even more of a struggle to find people to connect with because you’re two layers and some people may not understand how each layer affects you differently.
What is something a prospective student may miss on a visit that is worth checking out?
Visit the facilities down the hill. Our art facilities are located down the hill and they’re wonderful buildings. They’re pretty cool buildings and I feel like people miss them.
Reasons to attend Lafayette:
1) It’s a small campus so you’re going to know everybody and everybody is going to know you in your classroom.
2) You’re in between Philadelphia and New York City and tickets are relatively cheap. You have a nice balance of escaping Easton or hanging out in your dorm.
3) Lafayette has gotten its Intercultural Development team together. That means that we finally have a Dean of Diversity and a Director for Intercultural Development who interacts with every multicultural group. We also have an LGBT Coordinator and some LGBT clubs. So, knowing that they are putting more support systems in place for people of color or LGBT group is a reason for coming to Lafayette.
Reasons to not attend Lafayette:
1) They tend to really focus on STEM majors. There’s a lot of resources geared towards them.
2) Because the school is increasing its student body, you might be stuck in a triple dorm.
3) There are no multicultural fraternities.