Student Engagement during the Pandemic – ALPFA

By Dr. Leslie Ramos Salazar

By March of 2020, the Covid-19 pandemic had fully set in. Subsequently, all on-campus club activities and events had to be cancelled. However, the pandemic did not stop the WTAMU student chapter of the Association of Latino Professionals for America (ALPFA) from engaging in activities during the 2020-2021 academic year. While discussing with members, the student chapter leadership decided to adapt by continuing its activities in a virtual format via Zoom meetings, webinars, and workshops. We also continued our ALPFA Blackboard community including 70 virtual undergraduate and graduate student members. To our surprise, adapting to a virtual format helped to maintain active membership and engagement among our members and guests.

Staying Engaged, Virtually

The workshops prepared students to engage in virtual networking opportunities during the pandemic, to apply for scholarships, and to create effective résumé cover letters. The webinars featured speakers including Mr. Michael Gonzales, Public Affairs Manager from Atmos Energy, who highlighted the importance of making an impact in the Panhandle community by giving back to the community. Additionally, the panel by Weaver including Ms. Lulu Hernandez, IT Advisory Manager, Mr. Jose de la Cruz, Audit Senior, and Ms. Araceli Rios, Audit Partner, inspired the students to think about a career in public accounting by sharing their struggles and achievements.

Community Outreach

The ALPFA student chapter also sought to give back to the community by hosting two service projects.

The first was a virtual fundraiser for the Meals on Wheels of Amarillo, TX, which consisted of obtaining donations via the club’s Facebook page, and also from direct donations. With this, Meals on Wheels was able to purchase meals to feed the elderly in the Amarillo area.  Mr. Miguel Cuevas, our Historian/Secretary of ALPFA helped much with the marketing and with media communications. ALPFA exceeded its initial goal of $1,000, by fundraising a total of $1,750.

The second was a blood drive pledge project, which consisted of making a pledge survey and marketing posters at the campus to help recruit donors and donations for the mobile blood drive via the Coffee Memorial Blood Center. Ms. Raisa Anjum, our Director of Community Service who led this effort with great enthusiasm and diligence. “By donating blood, one can give someone the gift of life. It definitely makes you a bigger of a person when you give blood to save a life,” said Ms. Raisa Anjum. “Donating blood can help save lives, especially during the pandemic,” says, faculty advisor, Dr. Leslie Ramos-Salazar.

These activities has helped the ALPFA at WT student chapter achieve humility, compassion, and courage. Our active members and leaders are also much better prepared to achieve their career dreams.    

A Thriving Mission

ALPFA is a student organization devoted to empowering and developing Latino/Hispanic and international students as diverse leaders of character. ALPFA national serves more than 95,000+ professional and student members across the country. By providing networking and professional leadership development opportunities since 1969, members have access to paid summer internships and job opportunities through Fortune 1000 corporate partners.

For more information about ALPFA, contact Faculty Advisor Dr. Leslie Ramos Salazar.