La Familia: The Latino Experience at Southern Adventist University

By Natalia Perez

The interactive map and slideshow below feature the population of Southern’s Latino students whose citizenship is outside of the U.S., along with stories from students who are second-generation immigrants. 

Last semester, I and a team of ladies from the Southern’s School of Journalism designed and assembled the content for the Latin American Club’s first magazine, “Unidad Latina” (Latino Unity). The purpose of the magazine is to both celebrate the Latin American students of Southern and connect them with Southern’s alumni and the surrounding community. Although LAC has traditionally celebrated Latino culture through LAC events and especially on LAC night, this year we’ve opened a new avenue of expression through the written word.

Throughout this first issue, as well as the map above, you’ll find that many stories hold prominent themes of strength, family, and remembering home. In light of the various struggles Latinos face in the U.S., we find joy in celebrating our cultures together, and we’d love to celebrate them with you.








360° VR Walk Through Southern’s Promenade. Click and learn.

By Paola Mora Zepeda

Southern is a bustling school, and it happens often that life becomes too busy. If you don’t have a class with someone, it’s sometimes difficult to intentionally see them during the week.

That’s unless you’re taking a stroll on the Promenade, of course.

For those unfamiliar with that legendary stretch of campus, the Promenade is more than just a walkway. It is the location of most of Southern’s academic and administrative buildings.

It has become the location to meet all kinds of people  — art majors, biology majors and history majors, for example. You also will find students from every background — white, black, Hispanic and Asian students — all gathered in one one place.

I recently used information from Southern’s fact book to document ethnicities represented in each area of study.  To report those findings, I decided to use a 360-degree camera to show what the Promenade is like.

The video captures, from end to end, the walkway students take almost every day. Buildings are labeled with their names and departments.  Additionally, the tags show the distribution of ethnicity by department.

Southern Adventist University (Southern) is a school whose history traces back to 1892. Growing from 23 to 3009 students, it has not only increased in number but also in diversity. According to U.S. News and World Report, Southern is the third most diverse university in the South.

The demographic breakdown according to the area of study is as follows:

Moving Around

By Zailin Pena

Southern Adventist University’s very own Samir Khalil talks about how he grew up in various countries and how that allowed him to see different cultures and learn more about them. He has interesting thoughts on diversity and speaks about them. 

It takes courage to sell books door-to-door. These students welcome the challenge.

By Paola Mora Zepeda

As I grabbed my camera and jumped into the car, I did not know what to expect. Growing up in the Seventh-day Adventist church, I had heard of ‘canvassing,’ a practice by which students go do-to-door selling books. However,  I had never actually taken the time to learn much about it.

Now, I was ready to record the “canvassers” and their activities, not knowing how the day would unfold. But right away, I was pleasantly surprised.

First, I noticed that participants in the Literature Evangelism Adventist Discipleship (LEAD) program were students, just like me, who actually had to muster the courage to talk to strangers.  They spent hours trying to get individuals to purchase books but didn’t get discouraged. 

Canvassing, I learned that day, requires a lot of walking, smiling and getting the door shut in your face.

Why would anyone put themselves through that? There are so many other job opportunities out there, why pick one that requires you to carry heavy books, meet all kinds of people and work for long shifts? 

By working on this video project for my Interactive Journalism class, I learned the answers to many of those questions.

For a church to grow, it cannot confine itself to four walls. It needs to get out and reach the unreachable.

Canvassing, I realized,  is not for the faint at heart, but it’s well worth the time and effort.

Watch the VIDEO on YouTube here

Diversity: A gift of love

By Estefania Sanchez-Mayorquin

With February being Black History Month, I decided it would be appropriate to create a video celebrating a beautiful gift that God has given us — diversity.

We were created to show God’s love to others. We may all look, talk, think and worship differently. However, when we see past our differences and work towards one common goal, miracles can happen.


Fashion designer Kirsten Ley on Diversity: ‘I love using models of every background’

Kirsten Ley is a Canadian couture designer who recently moved her line to Paris.  In just 12 months, she has participated in seven international shows, displaying three collections.

Last week, I had the opportunity to interview Ley at New York Fashion Week, and she talked to me about her latest venture.

“I moved to Paris with my labels three and a half months ago,” she said. “… It’s kind of been this rebirth of my brand, and so I (titled) this collection ‘Naissance,’ which means birth in French.”

When asked about the diversity of models displayed in her line, Ley said:

“I find that my brand has a lot of dichotomy, and I love using a wide color palette. I love using models of every background and ethnicity and race and it just really speaks to me because I love having everyone a part of this.”


Ethnicity on the Runway : New York Fashion Week Designers Talk Diversity

By Hannah  D’avanzo

My media outlet, HD Access Media, has allowed me to attend international events and meet people of all backgrounds. One thing I noticed at designer shows is that diversity was often limited.

Attending Milan Fashion Week in previous years, for example, I recall not seeing a variety of ethnicities represented among designers, models or even the audience attending the shows.

So, when I recently had the opportunity to attend New York Winter Fashion Week, I decided to investigate as part of our Interactive Journalism class at Southern Adventist University.

Though most people would like to claim that diversity is important to them, how far will diversity go? Will women of ethnic backgrounds be included in this exclusive circle?

After several days of watching shows and talking to designers, my previous perspective changed.

Many designers said diversity was important to them. They not only expressed the belief but acted upon it by including models of different ethnicities to model their clothes.

I spoke with designers from all different parts of the world who came to showcase their designs and beautifully incorporated their culture into their clothes.  Present were Middle Eastern designers, Asian designers and European designers. 

Those I interviewed included Hakan Akkaya, Christian Cowan, Kirsten Ley, and Marisa P. Clark.

Along with diverse designers, we saw models of all backgrounds proudly showcasing the newest trends and embracing their ethnicities.

To summarize New York Winter Fashion Week:  It was a time where we could see, feel, and hear diversity, both on and off the runway.

SAU Blacksmiths: Forging ahead with their craft

  • Southern's Smiths blacksmithing studio.

By Zailin Pena

While it isn’t the most well-known club on SAU’s campus, Southern’s Smiths is the university’s very own blacksmithing club.

Various forged tools reside in the club’s studio, where members meet every Thursday from 6 to 10 p.m. The blacksmiths work with a variety of instruments to make their art, and a power hammer was recently donated to help them out.

Every year, the group participates in SonRise, the university’s Easter pageant, where they have their own section that is located by Thatcher South. A few members hand out small hammered nails to kids, while others forge tools right out in the open.

Southern’s Smiths don’t get much attention, but they are forging ahead with their craft.

The club is just another example of the variety of talents on campus.