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Live and build a long-lasting support system with other Latinx students on campus!

In its 15 years of existence, CASA SOL has built community amongst Latinx students through academic support initiatives and campus involvement. Students in this Living Learning Community also receive the benefit of semester sessions with student mentors who are previous participants of CASA SOL.  Additionally, CASA SOL residents have the opportunity to work closely with University selected faculty and staff by participating in a 3 credit academic course. To strengthen the success of the community, and more intentionally connect students to the campus, CASA SOL residents are required to enroll in a fall 3-credit First Year seminar (detailed below) through Chicano and Latino Studies in the College of Liberal Arts.  If you are a student experiencing scheduling conflicts as a result of required academic courses in your college (i.e. Engineering, Biological Sciences) please contact the Multicultural Center for Academic Excellence by emailing: or call 612-624-6386.

Seminar Title: Performing Latina/o/x Identities: Media, Art, and Popular Culture

Descriptions: What are the most popular representations of Latinos in mainstream media? How are stereotypes about Latinos perpetuated by the media? How do scholars in various fields, such as Communications and Latina/o Studies, critique one-dimensional images of Latinos in the media and in popular culture? How do Latinos challenge stereotypical portrayals and represent themselves when they create their own art or media? How does the intersection of ethnicity, gender, sexuality and class inform media representations and Latina/o/x-created art-forms? With these questions in mind, this course explores the representation of Latinos and Latinas in the media and how Latinas and Latinos represent themselves in mainstream, independent, and social media when they have creative control.

Students learn how Latina/o identity has been portrayed in popular and independent media, politics,  activism and social movements. By engaging with scholarship on media representation, students learn to identify the major stereotypes of Latinos in television, film, and news media. Students learn to differentiate between stereotypes and efforts towards self-representation produced by Latinos. The course will incorporate performances and workshops led by locally and nationally-renown Latina/o artists.

Professor Bio: Dr. Gabriela Spears-Rico received her Ph.D. in Comparative Ethnic Studies from the University of California at Berkeley. An Assistant Professor of Chicano and Latino Studies, Dr. Spears-Rico is currently working on her first book, Mestizo Melancholia and the Legacy of Conquest in Michoacán. Her book engages performance theory, critical race theory and feminist theory to examine how ‘going native’ functions in Mexico and how the dynamics of cultural appropriation inform the production of mestizaje and indigeneity among Mexicans and Chicanos. Her research appears in books published by the University of Arizona Press, including The Chicana Motherwork Anthology (2019) and in Indigenous Interfaces: Spaces, Social Networks and Indigenous Identities in Latin America (2019). Dr. Spears-Rico is also a poet whose creative praxis remembers a working-class upbringing in migrant labor camps. She grew up in the Santa Maria Valley of California’s central coast and enjoys winter activities, exploring Minnesota’s lakes and dancing cumbias with her young daughter. She has a fun shihtzhu pup named Britney and a troublemaking cat named Myra.

CASA SOL gives you the opportunity to connect with the Latinx community on campus, find academic support, explore leadership opportunities, and, of course, have fun! CASA SOL students participate in Chicano and Latino Studies classes, cultural events, networking events, workshops, and a fall retreat that always includes música, good food, laughter, dancing, y mucho más! We invite you to be a part of our CASA SOL familia.

This community is open to first-year residents.