Harvard Latino Alumni Alliance Milestones & Activities

Two and half years ago HLAA was an idea, a desire to build a national community of Harvard Latino Alumni.  Today HLAA is a legally incorporated nonprofit 501(c) 3 with a base of over 1000 Latino alumni that we communicate with through newsletters, Facebook, and Twitter. We have launched our first chapters, hosted events on campus and in eight other cities, and collaborated with local Harvard Clubs, other Special Interest Groups (SIGs), and the Harvard Alumni Association to access alumni and reach out to undergraduate and graduate students who we regard as future Latino alums. A call to action resulted in over 100 alumni volunteering to help form local Chapters and/or help on National Committees that will take on HLAA’s major initiatives.

Our work has been intense, tiring, and challenging at times; but also empowering, joyful, and meaningful. Above all, it has been an opportunity to connect with fellow Harvard Latino graduates and students to strengthen inter-personal relationships and build a powerful sense of community.

Over the past two years, we achieved the following milestones:

August 2014

  • HAA connects Boston, California, and Texas alumni interested in forming a Latino Alumni SIG

October 2014

  • The idea of a Latino Alumni SIG is launched at My Harvard: Dallas.

November 2014

  • National Founding Committee begins meeting weekly
  • Preliminary SIG concept paper is refined and organizational documented are drafted
  • A national outreach campaign begins to gather signatures for submission to HAA
  • HLAA supports Latino Thanksgiving Pachanga for students that can’t travel home for the holiday
  • HLAA hosts Latino Alumni Breakfast and Mixer after Harvard vs. Yale football game

December 2014- January 2015

  • HLAA works to identify Latino alumni and continues to gather membership pledges surpassing 450
  • A Code of Ethics is developed and signed by HLAA leadership
  • Special presentation on employment opportunities at the CIA is held in LA in conjunction with Harvard Club of S. California

February 2015

  • HLAA is formally recognized as a SIG during the 2015 HAA Leadership Conference

March 2015

  • Social media platforms, including a website, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn are launched
  • HLAA  is officially introduced to alumni via email blast
  • As part of the strategic planning process a comprehensive survey is designed and conducted to assess student and alumni needs and priorities.

April 2015

  • First official newsletter is disseminated
  • HLAA and the Harvard Journal of Hispanic Policy co-sponsor an Alumni Reception in conjunction with the Harvard Latino Law, Policy, and Business Conference
  • HLAA hosts a Spring Break Pachanga
  • HLAA raises funds to support the first university-wide Harvard Latino Graduation
  • Work continues to refine by-laws and develop a national election process

May 2015

  • May newsletter is disseminated
  • National Board elects officers
  • Student Directors are welcomed onto the National Board
  • HLAA leadership speaks at Latino Graduation, welcoming more than 75 graduates into HLAA  
  • HLAA and the Harvard Latin American Alumni and Friends SIG co-host a mini reunion as part of Graduation 2015 festivities with over 50 alumni in attendance
  • Final Articles of Incorporation and By-laws are adopted
  • HLAA endorses Latino alum, Martin Chavez, for Harvard’s Board of Overseers

June 2015

  • June newsletter disseminated
  • HLAA hosts Harvard Global Networking Nights in an unprecedented 7 cities across the country Boston, NYC, Los Angelus, San Antonio, Dallas, Houston, and Washington, D.C.  HLAA collaborated with local Harvard Clubs in 5 of these cities.
  • Incorporation documents are filed with the Texas Secretary of State
  • HLAA collaborates with Harvard Club of San Antonio to support a student from the Rio Grande Valley attending Harvard Summer School Program

July 2015

  • State of Texas designates HLAA a Texas nonprofit on July 7th
  • National Board member vetting process developed and approved
  • HLAA Southern California Chapter, in collaboration with the Harvard Club of Southern California and US Secret Service, sponsors a workshop on Protective Measures Against Cyber Attacks

August 2015

  • August newsletter disseminated
  • HLAA collaborates with Latino student organizations to prepare for the new school year
  • HLAA hosts drop-in office hours for students after passing of Harvard sophomore
  • HLAA opens a bank account
  • HLAA strongly urges Harvard College Admissions Office to hire one or more Latino admissions officers or senior admissions officers for Latino/recruitment.
  • Northern California Chapter begins to form
  • Board approved nominations, vetting, and elections process darted by Governance Committee

September 2015

  • National Strategic Planning meetings are held in Cambridge and San Antonio
  • HLAA begins national recruitment effort inviting alumni to join national committees and form local chapters
  • HLAA hosts a Welcome Back Event for Students and Alumni on September 16th

October 2015

  • Southern California Chapter launches and hosts first HLAA Early Awareness Program for over 300 Latino students and their parents at Eastmont Intermediate School in the Montebello Unified School District
  • Southern California Chapter commits to developing local J-Term opportunities
  • HLAA logo designs finalized and submitted for vote
  • PayPal account opened in anticipation of membership drive
  • By-laws amended
  • Student directors for 2015-2016, Jennifer Ruiz with Concilio Latino and Norma Torres Mendez with HLSA, accept board positions

November 2015

  • HLAA Board  Member Hilda Rodriquez, HGS of Design develops HLAA logo which is unanimously approved and adopted by the Board
  • HLAA President Ed Rocha hosts Latino Thanksgiving Pachanga at his home in Malden, MA. for students that can’t travel home for the holiday
  • HLAA Board  Member Norma Torres attends Latino Ivy League Conference at Brown University

December 2015

  • Governance Committee drafts Chapter guidelines in light of several new chapters forming across the country

January 2016

  • Southern California Chapter sponsors a local Harvard Students and Alumni Networking Luncheon

February 2016

  • Three HLAA Board members attend the HAA Leadership Conference for SIG training and also meet with Black Alumni Society SIG reps to discuss overlapping interests
  • HLAA President Ed Rocha hosts “Meet the President” Event in Boston
  • Board approves membership fee structure ($0 for students; $25 for recent grads, 3 years out; $40 for all other alumni members, including associate members.
  • HLAA joins the SIG Coalition for a Fair Harvard to oppose anti-affirmative action Free Harvard, Fair Harvard group running for the Board of Overseers
  • HLAA National Conference Call  held Feb 24th to share SIG updates and get member feedback

March 2016

  • HLAA sent letter to President Faust/Harvard Administration in support of Latino student demands for community center, Latino Studies

April 2016

  • HLAA raises funds to support Harvard Latino Graduation

May 2016

  • May newsletter disseminated
  • HLAA leadership speaks at Latino Graduation, welcoming more than 75 graduates into HLAA  
  • HLAA and the Harvard Latin American Alumni and Friends SIG co-host a mini reunion as part of Graduation 2015 festivities with over 50 alumni in attendance
  • HLAA endorses Latino alum,    , for Harvard’s Board of Overseers
  • Northern Cal Chapter Kick-off Event  -- Potluck Pachanga

June 2016

  • June newsletter disseminated

July 2016

  • HLAA designated a 501c3 public charity by the Internal Revenue Service.

August 2016

  • August newsletter disseminated

September 2016

  • Meet the President HLAA social event in NYC

October 2016

  • Nominations open for first open elections of HLAA National Board of Directors
  • HLAA Chapter in Southern California, in collaboration with the Harvard Club of Southern California, sponsored a Harvard Latino Mentorship Forum, whose purpose was to connect Harvard Latino students with Harvard Latino alumni mentors

November 2016

  • HLAA shares petition to protect undocumented students on campus from Trump deportation threats.
  • HLAA is one of 10 SIGS to help organize the first ever Alumni Women’s Weekend at Harvard. HLAA sponsored weekend events included a Latina alumni-Latina student get-together and a Women of Color workshop.
  • HLAA Boston host a Wine and Cheese together to welcome locals and Latinas in Boston for Women’s Weekend
  • In collaboration with Brown University Latino Council in Los Angeles, HLAA Chapter in Southern California co-sponsored an Ivy League Latino Alumni Happy Hour.
  • HLAA Chapter in Southern California hosts Early College Awareness Program for more than one hundred students and parents at Eastmont Intermediate School in the Montebello Unified School District on how to plan, prepare, and succeed in college.
  • HLAA President Ed Rocha hosts Latino Thanksgiving Pachanga at his home in Malden, MA. for students that can’t travel home for the holiday

December 2016

  • HLAA holds its first open elections for six seats on the National Board of Directors.
  • Southern California Chapter hosts Navidad at Whittier College, which features ballet folklorico Flor y Canto
  • HLAA Board of Directors sends a letter to Harvard President Drew Faust in support of making Harvard an undocumented student sanctuary.

January 2017

  • Governance Committee hosts welcome / training calls for new board members.
  • HLAA  hosts Global Networking Night in San Antonio, TX and for the first time in Washington D.C.

Future Initiatives:

In collaboration with the Harvard Alumni Association, HLAA will organize a Harvard Latino Leadership Weekend on campus.  Its purpose will be to recognize the leadership work of past and present Harvard Latino leaders and share lessons learned to develop future Harvard Latino leaders.

In collaboration with Harvard’s Center for Public Leadership, the HLAA’s Southern California Chapter will develop a Harvard Latino Leadership Initiative to develop future Latino leaders at local high schools, colleges and universities.

Other planned initiatives include introduction of a comprehensive mentorship program, posting of job and internship opportunities, and expansion of the HLAA Advisory Board.