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Sources: Madai Rivera, 785-532-5500,;
Sandra Salas,; and Mac Benavides,
News release prepared by: Nellie Ryan, 785-532-6415,

Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2010


MANHATTAN -- Kansas State University has become the only university in the state with an on-campus council of the League of United Latin American Citizens. The national council of the league officially recognized K-State's council and 18 of its members in January.

The K-State council, the fourth council of the organization in Kansas, is dedicated to working with Latino students to provide a support system on campus and to advancing the economic condition, educational attainment, political influence, housing, health and civil rights of the Hispanic population at K-State and in Manhattan, according to its members.

"Our organization is unique in that we have both community members as well as students," said Sandra Salas, a senior in biology and pre-medicine, Garden City, and president of K-State's League of United Latin American Citizens. "Our mission is to promote a stronger and more prominent Hispanic community in Manhattan so that incoming students as well as community members can feel welcomed into a community of their own."

The group was started by Mac Benavides, junior in secondary education and Spanish, Allen, Texas. Benavides was a member of the organization in high school and wanted to continue participation in the group at college.

"My passion for the organization comes from my passion for my history and culture," Benavides said. "It feels great to know that we have finally become an official council at K-State, not only because it was my goal, but because it shows a lot of commitment and passion from all of our members, something that helps me know that the Manhattan council is here to stay."

Coming from Texas, Benavides said he had a tough transition to make by moving to Manhattan to attend K-State. He said the transition has been easier because of the formation of the K-State League of United Latin American Citizens.

"The transition was interesting for me, moving from Dallas to Manhattan," Benavides said. "Luckily, I found many places for support, including the new LULAC council on campus. Though the Hispanic population in Manhattan is small, you can still find that helpful community within it, and I hope that we will be able to strengthen that in the coming years."

Benavides recruited Madai Rivera, K-State admissions coordinator for Hispanic recruitment, to be the council's adviser. Rivera said she admired Benavides' dedication to continue his passion for supporting the Hispanic community.

"He always had my support from the get-go because when you have students that have a goal or a vision and seem so excited, it is important to give your support," she said.

In pursuit of its mission to serve the Hispanic community of Manhattan, the council has several projects under way and many more plans for the future. The members volunteer at Seven Dolors Catholic Church to help teach English to Hispanic community members. Plans are in progress to partner with the Flint Hills Clinic, which provides health care to those who are low income or have no insurance. Members also will serve as interpreters at the clinic to help Hispanic clients at their appointments. In addition, members will serve as ushers and welcome patrons at the K-State McCain Performance Series' presentation of "Flamenco Vivo Carlota Santana" at 7:30 p.m. Friday, March 5, in McCain Auditorium. Another major project for the group is to educate the Hispanic community about the 2010 Census.

"Many of our Hispanic families are new to the community and many are not informed of the importance of the census," Rivera said. "We want to make sure they get counted."

Rivera said that the League of United Latin American Citizens also will be present at such K-State events as the All-University Open House and various activities carnivals. Members want to encourages students, faculty and community members to participate in the group.

"We are always welcoming new members," Rivera said. "We are the League of United Latin American Citizens, but of course we welcome everybody." More information on K-States League of United Latin American Citizens is available by contacting Rivera at or Salas at The group has meetings at 7:30 p.m. every other Thursday in 146 Justin Hall.

Along with the league, K-State offers a variety of organizations and programs for Hispanic students, including the Hispanic American Leadership Organization, annual Encuentro day and special programs for Hispanic student success and retention, such as Semillas de Excelencia Learning Communities.

The 2010-2011 student officers and chairs of K-State's League of United Latin American Citizens include:

Edgar Tafolla, freshman in engineering, Arkansas City, parliamentarian; Emma Del Real, senior in biology and psychology, Dodge City, treasurer and fundraising chair; Miguel Ramos, freshman in pre-professional business administration, Garden City, vice president; Kimberly Hurt, senior in mathematics, Merriam, secretary; and Ray Rosales, freshman in pre-professional elementary education, Wichita, social chair.

From out of state: Alba Chacon, junior in animal sciences and industry, Carrollton, Texas, community service chair.