Nancy Hinojos (MSB ’15) keeps herself very busy. She is a dancer in Groove Theory; she sits on the board of the Georgetown Aspiring Minority Business Leaders & Entrepreneurs; she is on the SFS Academic Council; and she is a Patrick Healy Fellow through the Center for Multicultural Equity & Access. In the midst of all these activities, Hinojos also holds a leadership role as resident director of the Black House, an organization which caters to students of color by holding programs and encouraging dialogue in a community-centered environment. NW.
When and how did you first hear about Black House?
I first heard about it when I came for Hoya Saxa weekend, which is the multicultural student weekend that the CMEA holds during one of the Georgetown Admissions Ambassador Program weekends. They flew us out and had a program for us where we had exposure to the wide variety of resources that there are on campus and the Black House was one of them, when it was located at its old location on 36th Street, closer to P Street. We had an open house there and got to talk to the president, and I found it to be a very important space, but I didn’t know I was going to be a resident leader down the line. I started coming to events my freshman year, then junior year I applied to be a resident director.
Why did you choose to get involved?
I think that having a space like the Black House is very important. It serves as a safe space for the community of color to host students of color on campus and to have really important discussions about what it means to be a diverse student at Georgetown, and there are also a lot of critical resources that the house offers that our community really needs. That just creates a very strong sense of community.
I’m very active in the Latino community and there has been a lot of discussion so far among the residents, because one of our goals is to assess the needs of the community and start programming around that. There is also a need for Latino house, because while we are one big community, our communities within the community have different needs. I wanted to get involved in that discussion, and I want to be a part of that, and so far it has been a really amazing experience in working very closely with the CMEA, and I think that the liaison role has been very important. Overall, I wanted to get involved in more outreach to use the house and make it become an integrated space.
Why is Black House an important organization on campus?
One of the biggest components of it is that it is a safe space where people can come together. It can serve as programming space or a place to just chat or relax or just a place to break away from the madness that is Georgetown. We have critical conversations among residents about what it means to be a diverse student here and how we can program our events to reach the maximum amount of people.
What do you hope to accomplish in your time as resident director?
One of things that I’m working on right now with the CMEA is to compile a list of the various groups that compose the community of color at Georgetown and then just doing outreach blasting. And every group, regardless of where they are in the community, should have access to the house. Like I mentioned before, the residents got together about three weeks ago and discussed how we are one community of color and have a lot of similarities, but we have a lot of diversity within our community, and we have different needs that our community serves. Right now we have two African American residents and two Latino residents. As a team we decided that we would like to have an advocacy campaign to start a Latino house.
What do you think the perception of Black House is throughout campus?
We’ve partnered very closely with the Latino initiative for Latino Heritage Month, and all of our events, whether they were a collaboration or just strictly Black-House-sponsored, were packed. I love seeing that. People can just come, chill and relax and have resident chats. I have, as resident director, run into cases where I say I live in the Black House and people don’t know where it is, what it is and why it exists. So I have had a lot of conversations with people about the history and the purpose of it. This year, especially with Latino Heritage Month, and the proposal that happened with the President’s Office and the Provost’s committee, these very important conversations are coming to the surface.
What has been your most rewarding experience outside of the Black House?
You know, I am going to showcase Patrick Healy Fellows on this. The program is run out of the CMEA, and every year they pick up about four to five fellows out of an application pool. It was started in either ’98 or ’97 by a group of students who wanted more support from alumni, as well as students of color who wanted more support through mentorship and fellowship in general.You apply as a sophomore, and so I joined. We had an all-female year, became such good friends, and I think that we were able to support each other through Georgetown. I look forward to being an alumna now, because I can come back and contribute.