By Lauren Mar ’25
When Alondra Alvarez ’23 was applying to Scripps, she discovered a description of Café con Leche (CCL), an organization that primarily serves the College’s Latinx community. After reading that Café con Leche was a “tight-knit community,” Alvarez knew that if she were to attend Scripps, she would be a part of it. Now the co-president, Alvarez says Café Con Leche has been “the highlight of [her] college experience since the first year.”
After the civil rights movement of the 1960s, affinity groups on college campuses across the United States emerged as sources of community for students of color. Scripps conceived Café con Leche to promote the discussion of issues that affect Scripps students who identify as Latinx and create a protected space for connection. The main facet of Café con Leche is its weekly meetings, held every Thursday in the Office of Scripps Communities of Resources and Empowerment, otherwise known as SCORE.
“The meetings are what I and a lot of students look forward to every week,” Alvarez says. “You can come as you are to share similar experiences and honor each other’s differences.” Café con Leche’s sense of community also assists Latinx students in having an easier transition into a predominantly White institution. As member Corina Silverstein ’25 notes, “When I first entered college, I questioned my cultural identity. Café Con Leche welcomed me with open arms and has provided me with a space to embrace my culture.”
Both Alvarez and Silverstein agree that not only is CCL a safe space, but it is a fun one as well. The nature of Café con Leche’s meetings vary from week to week. During one week this year, members tasted an array of snacks from different Latin American countries. Another week, CCL hosted a “Sex Night” which promoted safe and inclusive sex. From giving care packages to designing tote bags to holding open mics, Café con Leche caters to the wants of the College’s Latinx community.
“The meetings are ultimately about bringing people together,” Alvarez explains. “They’re based on the community’s needs, not the board’s. At the very first meeting this year, every member put a sticky note in a cup with what they wanted from CCL, and we’ve been making it happen for them.”
Café con Leche’s horizontal leadership allows for open collaboration between members and leadership, which in turn fosters a strong sense of community that extends beyond Scripps as well; earlier in the semester, CCL collaborated with Chicano Latino Student Affairs (CLSA), the Office of Black Student Affairs (OBSA), and other Latinx affinity groups across The Claremont Colleges to host the Afrolatine Festival.
Ultimately, CCL helps Latinx-identifying Scripps students bond and create relationships with each other. Not only do students support each other in this closely integrated community, they also feel more connected to the College as they get to know more friendly faces on campus who understand their experiences.
“Café con Leche makes Scripps feel like home,” Alvarez says.