Though the Luis Davila Latinx Thematic Learning Community, located in Teter Residence Center, opened at the beginning of the fall semester, there’s no better time than the present to celebrate its existence. From 2 to 4 p.m. this Sunday, Dec. 3, the community—better known to its residents as “the Davila floor”—will have a ribbon-cutting ceremony with the late IU Bloomington professor’s two daughters in attendance, allowing students to reflect on the significance of living in a Latino-related community at IU.
“It actually works out perfectly, because students have lived there for a semester, understand what it means to live in the community, and when they come here, the students can articulate that to the daughters of Davila,” explained Lillian Casillas-Origel, advisor to the community and director of the La Casa Latino Cultural Center, an Office of the Vice President for Diversity, Equity, and Multicultural Affairs (OVPDEMA) program.
“Especially because they’re mostly freshmen, if we would have done it the first week or second week after the students moved in, they would have been in a haze and not realized the significance it has--not everybody there is Latino, but to have a predominantly Latino group—to live with folks that understand your background on a campus that is predominantly white.”
“This is a watershed moment for the Latino community, because it’s an acknowledgement of the growing presence of the Latino population and culture on the campus,” said IU Associate Vice President for Diversity, Equity, and Multicultural Affairs and IU Bloomington Vice Provost for Diversity and Inclusion John Nieto-Phillips, who will be in attendance at the celebration.
“It’s an acknowledgement that we have a history here that we’re finally able to reflect upon, and that the university values and appreciates it. It goes back to Professor Davila bringing visibility to diverse Latino populations.”