As a Latino, Martín Pérez understands the issues that many underrepresented students can face and the need for a community of like-minded individuals who want to celebrate and educate others on different ethnicities. As a first-generation college student, Martín also understands the value of an education, a viewpoint, he says, that’s summed up by the Kofi Annan quote, “Education is the premise of progress, in every society, in every family.”
Much of Martín’s time at The Ohio State University has been spent turning Annan’s words into action. Along with some upperclassmen, in the spring of 2011, Martín founded the first Latino Student Association (LSA), a unified Latino presence for all students at Ohio State dedicated to creating, fostering, and bringing awareness about the Latino/a community. But Martín wasn’t finished: “This mindset and need for a community led me to establish the first Multicultural fraternity on campus: Sigma Lambda Beta International Fraternity.” Founded in late 2011, Martín currently serves as the president of Sigma Lambda Beta, which prides itself in upholding the importance of cultural awareness as a foundation for a society that is inclusive and understanding of the views of others.
A recipient of a Morrill Scholarship, Martín is also a student ambassador for LASER (Latino and Latin American Space for Enrichment and Research), helping to create programs and mentorships opportunities for underrepresented students. As the LASER ambassador, Martín is involved in visiting high schools, contacting incoming Latino undergrad students, and helping with outreach efforts with the greater Columbus Latino community: “My goals with LASER are to provide resources and connections to help students and to build a support system and network to assist students when they need it. Once these students obtain a higher education, they can assist their families after graduation and create a strong foundation for generations to come.”
And if founding a student organization and a fraternity and serving as a mentor and ambassador weren’t enough, Martín is also part of LEAP (Latinos Empowering Action and Perseverance), a wellness, leadership and community development program that has helped him to live a well-balanced lifestyle.
Martín’s involvement with all of these organizations has helped to foster a close-knit Latino community at Ohio State. LSA and Sigma Lambda Beta have created new events on campus such as Dia De Los Muertos, Latino Thanksgiving, and “I Am My Sibling’s Keeper,” a discussion on inclusion for the LGBT Greek Community. Together, the two organizations have built a home away from home for Latino students and introduced a new culture to Ohio State students.
After graduating with a double major in Finance and Public Affairs, Martín will be working for JPMorgan Chase in their Financial Analyst Development Program in New York. For future Buckeyes who will be following in Martín’s footsteps, his advice is to not be afraid of asking for help and to learn from those around you.
With all that Martín has accomplished while at Ohio State, it appears that advice has served him well.