by Sienna Strickland ’22
Laura Arango ’20 leads a busy life on campus and has quite the impressive resume. “Here at PC, I am Head RA of Cunningham, Mal Brown, and Di Traglia. I am the founder and certified facilitator for NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) Support Groups that take place on campus. I am a Feinstein Fellow with my site at the RI Free Clinic. I am also on the Diversity Outreach Committee through the Admissions Office. Finally, I am the NAMI Rep on the Active Minds Exec Board and an active member of BMSA.”
Amongst the lengthy list of Arango’s obligations, there is one that stands apart from the rest—OLAS. What is this organization, and what makes it so special?
Arango answers this question, stating, “OLAS is short for the Organization for Latin American Students, and it is a safe space for latin(x) students on campus, but we do not limit ourselves to the latin(x) community. We believe any student that wants to be a part of a loving, open-minded, and caring community is welcomed at OLAS.”
This caring community that OLAS fosters is what makes this specific club stand out so much amongst her other commitments. She elaborates on this sense of community, saying, “My favorite thing about OLAS is the community it creates. OLAS is where I met my best friends; it is where I learned more about my own culture; it is where I felt accepted, and it is where I felt like I was experiencing a piece of home.”
Arango loved OLAS so much that during her tenure as a member it became an aspiration of hers to join the executive board. “I joined exec because I knew I could bring commitment, passion and creativity to the board. I know that OLAS had so much potential that had yet to be fulfilled and I wanted to be a part of the mission to meet and exceed that potential. So I decided to run for Vice President, and I got it. Fast-forward a year and I am now President and it has been a fun, wild ride so far.”
Now that Arango is president of the club, she has direct influence over the direction it will take in the future. She is responsible for much of the networking, organizing, and planning behind the scenes.
“I meet with different organizations on campus to discuss co-sponsorships. I meet with my exec board on a weekly basis to plan out OLAS meetings and I, alongside my exec, run the OLAS meetings with our members. I also take pride in always advocating for OLAS, making sure our voices and our presence is heard and known, and always pushing OLAS to keep growing and expanding,” Arango says.
The future for OLAS looks bright, and so does the future for Arango. She has had a busy senior year so far but is making an active effort to enjoy it while it lasts, saying, “Senior year has been busy, but great. I’m excited to see what the rest of the year will bring and all the amazing memories I will be making with the people I love and care about.”
As for her own personal aspirations for her future, Arango has begun thinking about what is waiting for her in her life after PC. “Post-graduation I plan on taking a gap year to work on my med school applications and to study for the MCAT. During this year I’ll be working at the RI Free Clinic and hopefully traveling! Ideally, ten years from now I’ll be happily married, with an MD Degree and many, many dogs. Most importantly though, I just want to be happy, healthy, and surrounded by people I love.”