Office of Latino/a Student Initiatives

Latino/a Initiatives

Why AU?

Aurora University is one of 14 four-year, private, higher education institutions federally designated as a Hispanic-Serving Institution (HSI). To be considered for this designation, the student population must be at least 25% Hispanic. At AU, Hispanic students represent 42% of our undergraduate population.

For more than 20 years, our concentrated efforts have strengthened the presence of AU within the Latino/a community. AU serves many students from primarily Spanish-speaking households, and we understand the crucial role that families play in the success of our students. That’s why we strive for our students to feel a sense of home and family within our community. We accomplish this by affirming the cultural ties and family values that are important ingredients to Latino/a student success.


What AU Offers its Latino/a Students

The Office of Latino/a Student Initiatives embraces the transformative college journey. It is our priority to ensure that students encounter opportunities that meet their needs for leadership engagement, service to the community, and career development.

AU has a robust offering of resources and services for Latino/a students. They include:

  • Educational, social, and leadership programs that promote self-awareness and validation of the Latino/a experience.
  • Referrals and connections to wide-ranging campus support services.
  • Guidance in the development of success plans and the achievement of long-term goals.
  • Intentional support to first-year students with a focus on academic, financial, and social needs.

AU also has a growing network of partners in Latino/a student success, including:

  • Excelencia in Education
  • CREO DuPage
  • Hispanic Association of Colleges and University (HACU)
  • Latinos in Action
  • United States Hispanic Leadership Institute (USHLI)


USHLI Conference 2024

At AU, students have the opportunity to engage with civic and business leaders in the Latino/a community. In February 2024, more than two dozen AU Latino/a students, pictured above with AU President Susana Rivera-Mills (front row, center), attended the United States Hispanic Leadership Institute's (USHLI) national conference in Chicago, the premier Hispanic leadership conference in the country. Most conference participants are or will become the most influential Hispanic leaders of their generation and will help govern cities, schools, and states.

AU is federally designated as a Hispanic-Serving Institution.

Campus Opportunities for Latino/a Students

We are proud to provide our AU community with access to Latino/a-serving student organizations that provide special enrichment and experiences.

Latino/a students hold prominent leadership positions among the over 50 student organizations at AU. Of these organizations, four are grounded in Latino/a culture: 

  • Gamma Phi Omega International Sorority
  • Lambda Theta Alpha Sorority
  • Latin American Student Organization (LASO)
  • Phi Iota Alpha Fraternity

LASO is the main group serving Latino/a students and provides an important outlet to help form new friendships and greater awareness of Latin American cultures on campus. This group promotes the pursuit of leadership opportunities, networking skills, academic success, and community service.

In Our Own Words

In Our Own Words: Latino/a Student Initiatives Director Mariza Rocha on creating opportunities for students

At AU, Latino/a students are encouraged to learn about their culture and history in a way that aligns with their professional aspirations. The Office of Latino/a Student Initiatives is actively engaged with students to encourage growth and provide mentorship.

The strength of America’s education system is undoubtedly connected to the academic success of Latinos. White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics
AU Latino/a Excellence Advisory Board
  • Mariza Rocha Gonzalez, Director for the Office of Latino/a Student Initiatives
  • Leticia La Voy, Assistant Director of Career Services, Employer Engagement
  • Lisa Matich, Director of Academic Support Center
  • Joel Ortega, Associate Dean for Athletic Recruiting
  • Eva Serrano, Associate Professor of Foreign Languages/Emeritus Dean Latino Initiatives
  • Emily Telford, Assistant Vice President for Advancement Operations
  • Katie Tharp, Associate VP of Institutional Effectiveness & Decision Support
  • Maria Valenciano, Human Resources Coordinator


Contact Information

Mariza Rocha Gonzalez, Director of Latino/a Student Initiatives
Wackerlin Center for Faith and Action
Office: 630-844-5134
Text: 630-448-8879