Grace College Launches Student Group Esperanza Latina

Esperanza Latina participants enjoy a day of activities by Winona Lake at the group’s launch event on Saturday, Sept. 7. Ben Navarro is wearing the red cap. (Photo Provided)

WINONA LAKE, IND. – Grace College hosted its first Esperanza Latina event on Saturday, Sept. 7. The launch event gathered about 25 Latino students for an afternoon of eating South American food, playing yard games, and riding the Grace boat with Grace President Dr. Bill Katip. Esperanza Latina exists to create a forum that embraces Latino students, educates the Grace student body on pertinent issues for Latinos, and celebrates the rich Latino cultural heritage.

Second-year student Madelene Martinez joined Esperanza Latina to celebrate her heritage and connect with others on campus. “This club brings the wonders of diversity to the Grace community in a very special and fun way,” she stated.

Benjamin Navarro serves as a liaison between Grace College and Latino students, parents, pastors, alumni, community leaders and organizations. He guides Latino students through the college process, from first inquiry to college graduation.

“Esperanza Latina’s first event was a great success! It was a good time to connect and get to know each other,” stated Ben Navarro, Grace College admissions liaison for Latino recruitment and leader of Esperanza Latina. Michelle Murillo, Grace admissions counselor, helps co-lead Esperanza Latina.

The event is just the beginning of Navarro and Murillo’s objectives for the group.

“We want to create a safe space for both Latino and non-Latino students to learn about each other, celebrate our identity and discuss educational, social, political, intellectual, and cultural topics,” explained Navarro, who is from Argentina.

The group plans to partner with the surrounding community and other global initiatives on campus including the World Languages programs, the Council for Diversity and Inclusion, and the Institute of Global Studies.

The name Esperanza Latina translates to Latino Hope, a name that reflects the past, present and future hope of the Latino community.

For more information about Esperanza Latina and Latino opportunities at Grace, contact Ben Navarro at Grace College Latino Visit Day is on Friday, Jan. 24, at 9 a.m. Register at