Loyola University Chicago

Diversity and Inclusion at Loyola

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He has a passion for helping minority students

He has a passion for helping minority students

Joe Saucedo, director of Student Diversity & Multicultural Affairs, speaks at a celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in January. “We work hard to ensure that all members of the Loyola community are doing their part to make the University an inclusive and welcoming environment,” he says. (Photo: Natalie Battaglia)

Joe Saucedo goes to work every day with one goal in mind: to help underrepresented students at Loyola succeed.

Saucedo, who is the director of Student Diversity & Multicultural Affairs (SDMA), can relate to many of the minority students he helps. He grew up in a working-class community. He was the first person in his family to attend college. And as a graduate of Georgetown University, he knows the value of a Jesuit education.

Here, he talks about his life before Loyola, why connecting with students is so important, and what every future Rambler should know before stepping foot on campus.

What did you do before you came to Loyola?
I worked in Latino advertising in my hometown of San Antonio and managed campaigns for a variety of clients. But I soon realized I wanted to work in education and help others reach their potential. I landed a position with the Harvey Mudd College Upward Bound program in Southern California, and I eventually earned a graduate degree in education. I came to Loyola in 2011 as the resident director of Baumhart Hall and then moved over to SDMA a couple of years later.

How do you and your staff at SDMA help students?
I’m all about getting to know people one-on-one, and so the first step in helping students is establishing rapport and getting to know who they are and where they are coming from. My staff and I connect students with the resources they need—from workshops to mentoring programs and more. We work hard to ensure that all members of the Loyola community are doing their part to make the University an inclusive and welcoming environment.

Is your department just for underrepresented students?
Definitely not. That might be the perception, but the reality is we’re a resource for everyone. I would hope that everyone at Loyola recognizes the ways in which multiple identities and life experiences can intersect—and that diversity applies to all of us.

You attended a Jesuit university and now you work at one. So what does social justice mean to you?
I believe that true social justice goes beyond providing access to the same services and resources to all. It requires each person to understand the unique needs of groups and for all of us to find solutions that respect those needs. I believe I have a responsibility to confront oppression when I see it, which is why I feel so passionate about the work of my department.

And finally, what advice would you share with future Ramblers?
The college experience is so different for each person, so I tell students not to put so much pressure on themselves to do everything that everyone else seems to be doing. College is about growing, making mistakes, taking bold risks, and trusting that it will all work out as it should. My advice to future Ramblers would be to focus on academics and building relationships with friends who will be honest and caring.