Laura Londoño ’18, president of Emerson UNITE (Understanding National Immigration Through Education) and leader of this year’s Alternative Spring Break trip to El Paso, Texas, was named a Newman Civic Fellow last month by Campus Compact, a coalition of nearly 1,100 colleges and universities committed to civic engagement.
Londoño was honored for her advocacy for immigrant communities and her work to educate the Emerson community about the issues immigrants face.
“Laura is a nurturing and passionate leader, which drives her success in building partnerships and cohesive teams,” President Lee Pelton said in a nomination statement to Campus Compact. “These characteristics, along with her ability to work toward creative solutions and to be resourceful, demonstrate her potential to build coalitions to overcome injustice and to build sustainable and long-term social change.”
A Communication Studies major with a Sociology minor, Londoño said she was surprised to be named a Newman Civic Fellow, a designation that honors students who have “demonstrated an investment in finding solutions for challenges facing communities throughout the country,” according to the Campus Compact website. This year, 218 students across North America were named fellows.
“It was an honor, of course, and very humbling,” she said. “I personally do the work that I do not to be recognized by anyone, but mainly to help anyone I can along the way.”
Londoño was born in Colombia and came to the Boston area when she was 5, after her parents fled the violence that was erupting in the country. She said in her statement to Campus Compact that it wasn’t easy growing up a first-generation immigrant. She had to translate for her parents as a child and, along with her family, faced discrimination in their new country.
“It’s amazing how much we don’t know about immigration,” Londoño said of her classmates and Greater Boston residents. “I think being at Emerson, being in Boston, makes us think that we’re so far up north that immigration isn’t really an issue.”
In her remarks to Campus Compact, Londoño wrote that she works to create a “better future for myself and my generation.
“My goal is to collaborate with others to look deeply into the roots of social injustice in order to determine how best to use our collective strength to eradicate it,” she wrote.
Londoño said she isn’t sure yet if she’ll continue to work specifically on immigration issues once she graduates, but she’s “positive” she wants to work with nonprofits.