Wharton Latino’s membership requirements are rather surprising — for what they don’t require.
“If you see our name, it’s Wharton and Latino, so it incorrectly implies that you have to be in Wharton to be a member and you have to be Latino to be a member,” said College and Wharton junior Daniel Cruz-Rosso, president of Wharton Latino. “We’re trying to be a very open community and people who have an interest in Latin American affairs can join."
The executive board also includes students in the School of Engineering and the College of Arts and Sciences — like College junior Paula Pereira, who serves as the club’s vice president.
Although its open membership means that active members are not required to either be in the Wharton School or be Latino, the club’s name does influence its goals and programming. Meetings feature discussions on current events in Latin American countries, and the club holds a variety of events and programs designed to build community within its members and to help them with the career search.
“When we have info sessions…we tell [the company] to try and cater to Latinos,” Wharton senior Julia Evangelista said. “At the beginning of the semester, we had [an info session] with AmBev where we asked them to talk about Latinos, so they talked about marketing for the Latin community.”
As Wharton Latino’s corporate chair, Evangelista and her co-chair Wharton junior Mariana Repsold manage the club’s relationship with their corporate sponsors, through networking, on-campus informational events and diversity events in conjunction with other groups like Wharton Women or Black Wharton.
Last week, Wharton Latino held its 20th annual career conference in Huntsman Hall. The conference, open to all Penn students, was preceded by a networking brunch where students were able to sit and talk with recruiters from their company of choice.
While the club’s corporate sponsors have historically tended to be finance and consulting companies — like their “platinum” level sponsors for the year, Morgan Stanley and Bank of America — the club has attempted to diversify in this area as well.
“What we did the last year was we sent an interest form to the listserv, asking, what industries are you interested in, what companies specifically are you interested in, what kinds of things are you looking for?” Repsold said.
Following requests from members, Evangelista said, the clubs reached out to companies in the technological sector like Google and Microsoft, and has also partnered with nonprofits like Teach for America.
Due to the club’s large international membership, it also holds workshops on visas and immigration; many members hold citizenship from Latin American countries, and are studying at Penn under an F-1 or Optional Practical Training visa, which allows students to work for a year. Students hoping to work longer-term in the United States must receive an H-1B visa, which an employer must sponsor.
“What [many companies] forget is that [many Latinos] don’t have an American visa; they’re just here as an international student,” Pereira said. While banks and consulting companies generally sponsor visas, many companies do not,
"International students who don’t want to work with [consulting or finance], we’re who they reach out to.” Pereira said.
Though its membership is strong, with 100-200 active members, the club is still trying to boost engagement by diversifying membership and reaching out to upperclassmen, who may be less involved than their freshmen and sophomore counterparts. This year, the club is introducing a program called La Taqueria, which pairs up freshmen and sophomores with junior and senior mentors, respectively, in order to boost connections between under- and upperclassmen.
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