‘Leaving a mark’ with Rider’s DominiRican club

By Grace Bertrand

Despite being one of the largest minorities on campus, Latinx and Hispanic students often feel like they lack adequate representation at Rider. 

Noticing an absence of Hispanic and Latinx culture as an incoming freshman, creator and president of the newly founded DominiRican club Liz Ortiz set out on a mission to change that. 

 Rider’s new Dominican and Puerto Rican club promises to provide a safe space for Hispanic and Latino students on campus, especially fellow Dominican and Puerto Rican students, as well as anyone interested in their cultures. 

“I just really wanted this club to unite the community of Hispanics and Latinx people and anyone else who is interested in having a big family at Rider,” said Ortiz, who comes from a big family herself.

The club was thought up as an idea back in the fall semester, but wasn’t set in motion until this spring after recruiting her friends and peers to join the executive board with her. 

Ortiz explained that she debated about actually starting the club for a while, struggling with whether or not she should bring her ideas to one of the other Latinx clubs on campus instead, like Rider Latinas Unidas, which Ortiz is also on the e-board for, doing public relations. 

Ultimately, Ortiz decided to start her own club because she wanted to “leave her own mark” on the school and had hopes of making the club bigger than just an organization.  

“This club is my legacy,” Ortiz said.

The organization has become the first Dominican and Puerto Rican club on campus, starting a movement bigger than the club. 

Due to the increase of potential clubs in the past year, the club wasn’t able to present in front of the Student Government Association until March 6 and was officially approved the same day. 

In recruiting people to join the e-board, Ortiz explained that it was imperative to her that they were just as passionate about Hispanic culture as she was. 

Treasurer Rosandry Rodriguez, who was the first member to join the e-board, said that her desire to join the club stemmed not only from her Hispanic heritage but also “from the recognition of the strong unity within the Hispanic community.” 

Rodriguez called the opportunity to serve as the club’s treasurer “a rewarding experience,” explaining her need to join as soon as she found out about the club. 

The club is still missing a vice president, but Ortiz said she plans to fill the role quickly and hopes to have an even bigger e-board in the fall. 

This time next year, Ortiz said she hopes to have more people in the club and collaborate more with other organizations on campus.

“While our club’s name may imply a focus on Dominicans and Puerto Ricans, inclusivity is paramount to us,” Rodriguez said. 

On April 1, the club had its first meeting where members introduced the club and presented what kind of events they plan to host with their newly approved budget.

Inspired by Rider African Student Association’s “Taste of Africa,” the club plans to host one last event this semester called “Gusto de las Islas,” translating to “Taste of the Islands.”

The event is in collaboration with multiple multicultural and ethnic organizations on campus like the Black Student Union, the Indian Association and the Asian American Student Association. 

The club plans to host more collaborative events in the future and hopes to become the base club for bigger collaborations that foster a sense of community among Rider students. 

“I just want people to see that this is an upcoming club and for people to definitely come to one of our events to see how excited we are about inclusivity,” Ortiz said. 

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