Yanaraliz Barnes, director of the Austin Peay State University’s Latino Community Resource Center (L.C.R.C.), stands outside the steps of one of APSU’S building steps. Photo provided by the Latino Community Resource Center Staff Directory.

Yanaraliz Barnes, director of the A.P.S.U. Latino Community Resource Center (L.C.R.C.), is always working for under-served students.

Barnes thinks that cultural centers in higher education institutions across the globe are important for highlighting the experiences of the cultures they represent, along with educating those who are interested and those who should be interested in the experience of various marginalized groups.

She believes that cultural centers are needed because not everyone has a seat at the table.

“My job here is important because I provide the perspective of students that I represent that often go unheard. Every room that I am in, I bring my students to the table,” said Barnes.

Barnes came to Florida from Puerto Rico as a 15-year-old, and she was lost when she came to college. People in similar roles to her own helped her as a college student, and she likes to pay that kindness forward when it comes to valuing students as people and being there for them in everyday life.

Although she currently impacts students in a number of ways, Barnes sees herself working in D.E.I (Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion), policy-making, and advocacy in order to make longer-lasting improvements.

One of Barnes’ main tasks as the director of the L.C.R.C. is planning and carrying out the events of A.P.S.U.’s Latinx Heritage Month. She and a group of students begin planning for Latinx Heritage Month heavily throughout the summer, and it is carried out from September 15 to October 15.

Also, Barnes mentions that she had to work hard to re-brand the center when she first accepted her job. Originally, the L.C.R.C. (under a different name) was mainly a center highlighting the language of Spanish and helping Spanish students with language-related questions.

Currently, the L.C.R.C. highlights the Latinx experience through programs and provides a safe and friendly environment for students to access resources and acquire support.

The L.C.R.C. as students and faculty know it is largely due to Barnes and her efforts to make the center the best that it could be.