Center for Diversity & Inclusion

Center for Latinidad

Our Mission

The Center for Latinidad is an affirming space that promotes a path to Conocimiento (understanding) and awareness of the cultural wealth and resiliency of Latina/o/x identity, experiences, and voices. 

Vision for the Future

Since 2015, the University has been designated as a Hispanic-Serving Institution (HSI), with more than 30 percent of current students claiming Hispanic heritage. The Center for Latinidad works to build a sense of belonging and community at William Paterson, with the goal of increasing the retention of Latina/o/x students, promote and explore diverse cultural experiences, and serve as an affirming space for resources, advocacy and student success. Students are encouraged to use this space throughout the day. Structured meetings, workshops, and student services are facilitated in collaboration with the Academic Success CenterCASLCareer Center, faculty across Academic Affairs and affiliated student clubs and organizations.

The Center for Latinidad is Managed by Students for Students.

The Center for Latinidad is located in the Student Center, room 209. The CFL provides access to computer stations, lounges, and community libraries. This has proven to be a great space for group discussions, game nights, and study space in between classes. Student Ambassadors and Adelante mentors work together to facilitate socials and workshops. 

The Center for Latinidad is a reservable space for a meeting or workshop by clubs, faculty, and other departments, please contact

Areas of Engagement:

Through proactive and inclusive outreach and programming, the Center for Diversity & Inclusion, the Black Cultural Center, and the Center for Latinidad will engage the entire campus in the creation of a climate of justice, equity, and inclusion founded on knowledge, understanding and empathy. Initiatives will strategically map up to institutional goals related to student retention and success; positive campus climate; and student participation in high-impact practices. Strategic priorities are:

  • Strengthen Student Agency
  • Bolster Restorative Justice Practices
  • Provide Affinity-Based Support Services & Resources
  • Bolster Cultural Competency
  • Increase Representation and Visibility of Diverse Students

Upcoming Initiatives: 

  • Student Support Group.  Support Groups are a partnership with Counseling, Health & Wellness for students to reconcile cultural barriers experienced in their communities & on/off-campus. Bi-Lingual and communication in Spanglish are welcomed!

  • Immigration Justice. Immigration Justice at WPUNJ is a series of programs facilitated in collaboration with the faculty-led Coalition for Immigration Justice. These initiatives and resources promote awareness and empowerment. 

  • Conocimiento Experience. The Conocimiento Experience is centered on cultural resiliency tools used by Latina/o/x activists. Through interactive sessions, students will gain insight into the historical context of Latina/o/x identity, decolonization, and will generate critical consciousness through relationships with themselves and each other.

  • Signature Events. The Center for Latinidad works collaboratively with the Black Cultural Center, the Center for Diversity & Inclusion, New Student Programs, Campus Activities and Student Leadership, the Student Activities Programming Board, Student Government Association, and campus partners across the campus to provide enrichment programs that celebrate the rich diversity of our students. Please visit WP Calendar of Events and Pioneer Life to see the full range of programs.

Latinidad at William Paterson University acknowledges the dynamic diversity of our students whose origins are from Latin America, Central America, South America, and Caribbean islands of any race, any ancestry, and any ethnicity. Latinidad (solidarity) is experienced through language, music, art, customs, and traditions.

As a university, guided by our mission and commitment to further inclusive practices, we use the terms “Latina/o/x” and “Latinx”. Our goal in using these terms is to build a campus culture that is more inclusive of non-gender binary people and to give all students a means to express themselves. At William Paterson University, Latinx is an example of how people are using language to express the intersection of their gender identity and their Latinidad.  It is up to the individual to self-determine how best to identify themselves within the context of their own culture, gender, and other characteristics. 

We have provided some definitions that guide our work to increase Latinidad at William Paterson University.  In addition to these terms, many people prefer to identify themselves by their heritage or country of origin.  The Center for Diversity & Inclusion invites you to complete Latinidad at WPUNJ Survey to learn more about what programs and initiatives are important to you. Students of all identities including non-Latina/o/x students are encouraged to complete the survey.

Check out Pioneer Life for more information on upcoming events and programs.


Latina (adj.): a woman or girl who is a native, inhabitant of Latin America, or is of Latin American origin living in the U.S..

Latino (adj.): a man or boy who is a native, inhabitant of Latin America, or is of Latin American origin living in the U.S..

Latinx (adj.): Relating to people of Latin American origin or descent (used as a gender-neutral or non-binary alternative to Latino or Latina). Supporters say it engenders greater acceptance among non-binary gender Latinos. Critics say the term is ungrammatical and disrespectful toward the Spanish language. The “x” in Latinx replaces the male and female endings “o” and “a” that are part of Spanish grammar conventions. The main goal of this new identity term is to be more inclusive.

Hispanic (adj.): The United States Census Bureau uses "Hispanic or Latino" to refer to "a person of Cuban, Mexican, Puerto Rican, South or Central American, or other Spanish culture or origin regardless of race” and states that Hispanics or Latinos can be of any race, any ancestry, any ethnicity.  More broadly, the term Hispanic is more broadly used to refer to the culture, peoples, or nations with a historical link to Spain, particularly the countries of Latin America which were colonized by Spain. The Spanish language is the main cultural element shared by Hispanic peoples.

Immigration Justice & Resources for Undocumented Students

Welcome to WPUNJ's resource page for undocumented students! Undocumented students of all ethnicities and nationalities can find a safe environment and supportive community at William Paterson University.   We understand that there are particular challenges experienced by undocumented students as they navigate policies, processes, and academic requirements.  This site provides information to help students reach their full potential and achieve their goals for college success.

If you currently have DACA approval or a pending DACA application, please speak to a licensed, experienced immigration attorney or recognized/accredited organization or representative before making any plans pertaining to work, travel, or applying for a DACA renewal. Among many options, CUNY CLEAR is an excellent resource for free legal services and guidance.

Financial Aid Information

Apply for NJ State Aid before the semester you enroll.

The New Jersey Alternative Financial Aid Application allows undocumented students enrolled in eligible New Jersey colleges and universities to apply for state financial aid.

  • Complete this application if you are not a United States citizen or eligible noncitizen and meet all State of New Jersey Eligibility Criteria: Complete the New Jersey Alternative Financial Aid Application
  • Please be aware that the online application will not save an incomplete application. Please call customer service at (609) 584-4480 with any concerns. Important: If a pop-up appears on your application screen requesting to track your physical location, select “Options for this site” and then choose “Always deny and don’t tell me” and continue with your application.

Apply for State Aid through WPUNJ's Financial Aid Office.  The Financial Aid Office is located in Morrison Hall. 

Qualifications to Apply for State Aid:

  • Attended high school in New Jersey for three or more years; and
  • Graduated from a New Jersey high school or received the equivalent of a high school diploma in this State; and
  • Register as an entering student or are currently enrolled in a public institution of higher education not earlier than the fall semester of the 2013-2014 academic year; and
  • File an AFFIDAVIT with WPUNJ stating you have filed an application to legalize your immigration status or will file an application as soon as you are eligible to do so.

On-Campus Resources for Undocumented Students

These are on-campus resources available for WPUNJ students. 

Pioneer Food Pantry. The Pioneer Food Pantry is located on the 3rd Floor of the Student Center. Students must complete the Pioneer Pantry Order Form by 11:59pm on the day before the orders are prepared.

Counseling, Health & Wellness Center. The University’s Counseling, Health, and Wellness Center can provide free counseling services for students who experience emotional and mental distress related to immigration issues. The Counseling, Health, & Wellness Center is located in Overlook South, 1st Floor (Between Matelson Hall and White Hall).

Immigration Justice Faculty Coalition . The faculty coalition provide a safe space and support for undocumented students. They will listen to your concerns and assist in finding resources. Faculty and professors cannot provide legal advice or psychological counseling; however, they will be able to provide information about available services. Please contact Elena Sabogal at for more information. Dr. Sabogal office is located in Atrium Room #111. 

SGA Attorney. The William Paterson University Student Government Association’s attorney, Gerald Brennan, offers free legal advice to all students. Mr. Brennan can only provide legal advice and does not represent students in a court of law. For more information please contact Mr. Brennan at

General Resources for Undocumented Students

These are general resources available for WPUNJ students within the United States to seek out and for faculty and staff to refer students to in the WPUNJ community.