Madeline Bailey stands out – literally. The non-Latino Northern Kentucky University junior is the president of the Latino Student Union y Amigos student organization. “The culture is wonderful and the language is romantic. I love it,” she said.
Despite her obvious difference in ancestry, Bailey said she’s never had any negative reactions. “No one has ever really said anything to me about it,” she said. “Sometimes people think it’s weird, but that’s it. We aren’t here to step on anyone’s toes. We are here to share the Latino culture.”
The secondary education and Spanish major, originally from New York, came to NKU to escape attending a university with a large population. “My parents wanted me to stay close, but I didn’t want to go to a huge school like (University of Cincinnati). So, I decided to come here to NKU, and I love it.”
Bailey had mixed feelings when she assumed the role of president. “I was excited but nervous too, because it’s a lot of work,” she said.
“My mom asked me once, ‘How is it that a little Irish girl from New York gets to be the president of a Latino organization?’ But I don’t really have an answer. It just happened,” Bailey said.
Although Bailey loves leading the LSU y Amigos, she admits that she’s not planning on re-running for her position. “I want to see someone else take over next year because I have plans to study abroad in Spain in the fall of 2007,” she said.
Bailey was interested in Latino culture long before NKU-one of her childhood friends was of Mexican heritage. “We used to go to her grandmother’s house and she could only speak Spanish,” she said. “She was always making delicious Mexican food and I loved the atmosphere of her home.”
Bailey combines her love of Mexican food with her work at the LSU: “For a day during Hispanic Heritage month (Sept. 15 through Oct. 15) the LSU y Amigos set up a table where people could buy Mexican food for $1. People really liked it,” Bailey said. “We try to set up events where it’s just for the Latino community. We try to appeal to everyone’s taste but, of course, it’s impossible to get every student involved.”
The LSU y Amigos have sponsored cultural events all month, including keynote speakers and a multicultural festival.