Finding your place at a University with over 58,000 students who all come from different places and with varying backgrounds can be daunting. It becomes even more of a challenge when you are among the minority on campus. Founded in 1974, the Memorial Student Center Committee for the Awareness of Mexican-American Culture (MSC CAMAC) was created to promote the Hispanic/Latino culture through a wide variety of events and programs.
CAMAC has experienced many successes and growth opportunities throughout their 41 years on Texas A&M’s campus. What seems to be the key to their success?
What makes CAMAC unique goes beyond just their ability to effectively plan and implement programs; members of this MSC Organization consider each other family. In fact, the entire organization is ran in a way that first and foremost creates a tight knit bond of friendship.
Amanda Flores, the organization’s advisor shared about the family that develops along the process of planning a program. “They go to meetings and share ideas and stories. I think that the ability to create programs that are relevant to them and give voice to their experiences is what empowers the students to come together. They are able to talk about personal experiences.”
Ana Cardona, the chair of CAMAC states, “CAMAC has taught me how to become acclimated in an environment in which I was really uncomfortable in. I am a first generation college student from a small town and coming to A&M was a big culture shock. CAMAC made me feel comfortable, helped me find where I belong at A&M, and gave me the opportunity to succeed here.”
Throughout Ana’s time in CAMAC she has not only found her place, but also climbed the ladder to now hold a position that requires a great amount of leadership. “I really learned how to work with people and how to not only develop leadership and professional skills, but also how to encompass the family aspect while getting the job done, programming, and making sure that people want to do a good job. When people want to be there they want to do a good job, and our programs are more successful.”
As part of the unique CAMAC culture one of their featured programs is Mi Casa. Mi Casa has been going on since 2005 and has steadily grown to not only include Latin American students, but also graduate and international students. “The faculty involved understands the idea of creating a home away from home for students. The students that attend are first shy and do not know what to expect. Once they get in the space they realize that what they were missing, whether it be food, conversation, or home. You slowly see students open up and find connections with what the host has to share. The connections they find are what keeps them coming for more,” Flores states.
MSC Organizations like CAMAC not only provide students with a place where they can feel at home, but a place where learning and growth is constantly occuring.