Marvin Casasola, who previously served as university relations and campus outreach manager at Boston University’s (BU) Study Abroad Office, has been selected as the new director of the Latino Center, according to a Sept. 3 email from Student Life. Casasola assumed his role over the summer.
The Latino Center serves the Latinx community at Tufts by acting as a space and resource for students to share their experiences as well as demonstrate their support and appreciation of Latinx identities, according to its website. Casasola’s arrival follows the departure of Julián Cancino in January.
During his time at BU, Casasola organized events as part of the Study Abroad Office and was senior international students and scholars coordinator. This position involved instructing students and faculty on immigration policies and procedures, according to the email.
Casasola spoke to the Daily about his transition, and expressed that his priority as director of the Latino Center will be serving his new community.
“I had never been on Tufts’ campus before, so it was a new experience for me and a new challenge for me, which I was very excited about,” he said. “My main focus has been the students, because I not only represent the Center but the students that come into the Center.”
Throughout the summer, Casasola connected with alumni to learn more about the Center. He indicated that by doing so, he gained new perspectives of the Center’s history and the different identities it fosters.
“I felt I could add value regardless of what has happened in the history … I know there’s a lot of rich history since [the Center] was created in 1983 and officially started in 1993,” Casasola said. “I think that says a lot about Tufts and what the university wants to offer to our community and Latinx population.”
Casasola emphasized that all are welcome and represented in the Latino Center.
“You’re going to be welcomed here no matter what … even for people that feel that they want to learn more about the Latinx culture or they want to brush up on their Spanish skills or even Portuguese skills. They’re all welcomed,” Casasola said.
He said that students have already shared with him the improvements they would like the Latino Center to make this year, adding that his main goal is to reach all students and create a space for the Latinx community and students interested in celebrating Latinx culture.
“Our community should be able to take part in the celebration of our differences and be able to learn from who we are as a people,” Casasola stated.
Oliver Martinez Lopez has been involved in the Latinx community at Tufts and hopes to participate in events hosted by the Latino Center and Casasola.
Martinez Lopez, now a sophomore, served as first-year representative for the Association of Latin American Students (ALAS), a club that focuses on fostering an inclusive and welcoming environment for Latinx students on campus.
“First year, I was trying to get to know the community … I was more involved with ALAS and other Latinx clubs, not so much the Latino Center,” he said.
This year, Martinez Lopez is a Latino peer leader with the Latino Center and mentors 12 first-years.
“[Casasola is] very supportive of any concerns or issues that may come up … he tries to bridge the gap between the Latino Center and other student organizations,” he said.
Martinez Lopez also noted that the Center is planning several events for National Hispanic Heritage Month, which is a period from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15.
Jocelyn Arroyo spoke to the Daily about her involvement with the Latino Center and excitement at Casasola’s arrival. Like Martinez Lopez, though she was not heavily involved with the Center during her first year at Tufts, she seeks to change that this year.
“I wasn’t heavily involved last year, but I’m going to try to go to more events and join ALAS,” Arroyo, a sophomore, said.
Arroyo noted that she first met Casasola over the summer as a Bridge to Liberal Arts Success at Tufts peer leader and FIRST Resource Center intern.
“He immediately feels like someone you’ve already met before … super kind and open to everyone in the space. You don’t have to be Latinx in order to feel welcome,” she stated.
Arroyo explained that Casasola is open to new programming and finding different ways to make the Latino Center better.
“He has a genuine interest in understanding what the Tufts campus is and the history of the Latino Center,” she said.