Work hard and be proud of your work. Never embarrass the name. Do the right thing when nobody’s watching. These were the values Sylvia Jauregui’s parents instilled in her, and they continue to guide her work to this day.
Jauregui is one of two recipients of the MU Inclusive Excellence Award, which honors staff members who embody the university’s commitment to growing and sustaining a diverse and inclusive learning, living, and working environment. Her work as a Hall Coordinator in Residential Life affirms that diversity and inclusion are foundations on which our communities thrive, and she has contributed in significant ways.
Jauregui wants people to know that the award honors her parents, who are U.S. immigrants. As the second cohort of recipients, she feels especially appreciative and understands the weight that it carries.
“I felt proud and validated for the work that marginalized faculty and staff do on this campus that sometimes goes unrecognized; I immediately felt like I was being seen,” Jauregui says. “It was a bigger honor that my student-staff member was the one who made the nomination.”
Allisa Foster, Jauregui’s nominator and staff member, was effusive in her praise of Jauregui’s efforts. She wrote that Jauregui often goes beyond her job duties as Hall Coordinator of North, Center and South Halls to make the university a more inclusive place.
“She goes out of her way to translate different conversations and departmental training for Spanish-speaking custodial staff,” Foster writes. “Sylvia continuously advocates for and supports students of color and continues to stay available for the department when they need help.”
Foster also described Jauregui’s involvement at the university through service and leadership in many organizations and committees focused on academic performance, residential accommodations, student recruitment, tradition transformation, and underrepresented identity representation.
“During our staff training, Sylvia makes sure to use her voice to advocate for communities that may not necessarily be in the room who need a voice,” Foster writes. “She supports all of her students in their endeavors and makes sure she stays plugged in on our progress. She always works to learn about communities and identities that she doesn’t hold and makes sure they’re represented in the spaces she occupies.”
The relationships she’s fostered with students like Foster is Jauregui’s biggest point of pride.
“It’s important to think of long-term relationships because it’s easy to integrate into a student’s life and then send them into the world without keeping in touch,” Jauregui says. “I tell them, ‘Once we’re in it, we’re in it forever.’”