How I Learned to Describe Destino

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Latino Students

The first few weeks of the school year are so critical to meeting new students. During this time so much of our focus is on meeting new freshmen, telling them about Destino, and inviting them to come join the movement.

Periodically people will ask us how we describe Destino to students we meet on campus. In the past I’ve responded with my typical script that I say to students. After reading a great post on transferability by Brian Virtue I’ve begun to rethink that strategy.

Instead of blogging about how you should describe Destino on campus, I want to walk you through the process I use to get to the description I currently share on our campus.

  • Realize Destino is Something New. When we started working for Destino I tended to just use the same things I said on campus before when describing Cru but just substituting Destino. As I’ve mentioned before, you can’t do brown like you did white. The longer I do Destino the more I try to describe it as something new, something that has it’s own identity distinct from Cru.
  • Determine Our Target Audience. On our campus we had a choice to make, we could either try to reach students that already came to college as believers or we could focus more on non-believers and expect the believers to come. We chose the latter and this definitely influences how we describe Destino. We share about the spiritual nature of Destino and are very upfront about it, but it is not all we focus on. We want people who may not yet realize their need for God to still be interested in coming to Destino.
  • Incorporate Student Feedback. I spend lots of time on campus talking to tons of students. I’m always sharing about Destino and paying attention to their reactions. I make note of their questions and incorporate the answers into future ways of describing Destino. For example, when I started with Destino the most common question was, “Are you for Catholics or Christians?” I quickly realized that on our campus when I described Destino as a “Latino Christian Organization” I was unintentionally alienating some of my audience. Now I talk about Destino in a way that shows we are inclusive for both Catholics and Protestants.
  • Attend University Sponsored Latino-Focus Events. Our university frequently sponsors events related to the Latino population on campus. Here I’m not talking about a cultural night. Instead I mean when the administration has a public event discussing how to increase Hispanic enrollment or retention. I listen to what is important to the decision makers at the university. Often Destino has similar goals to the university regarding the students and we can work in partnership together. Both Destino and the university want to see more Latinos enrolled. Both of us want more to graduate. I know that is important for the administration and is something we have in common, so I make sure to include it when I share about Destino on campus.
  • Listen to Student Leaders. Our students are far more effective that I am at inviting people to Destino. I listen to how they describe Destino to their friends and try to talk in the same ways with freshmen I meet.
  • Survey our Involved Students. Last Sunday @devinthinks led a great time with our student leaders asking them to remember why they came to Destino the first time and then why they decided to come back. It was fascinating to hear what kept them around. He then had them begin to invite people by using what was true of their own story. I think it will be much more powerful than a script we’ve used in the past.

Would it be easier if I just wrote out a script to tell you how to describe Destino on your campus? Sure, but then it wouldn’t be unique to your context. It wouldn’t incorporate the stories of the students who are already involved. It wouldn’t speak to the needs of your university. It would be quick and easy but it wouldn’t be yours.

As you walk through some of the tips above, how does it shape how you describe Destino to new freshmen?

photo courtesy: epsos

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Posted on August 30, 2011

About destinoeric

A white guy who believes Latinos will change the world, Destinoeric served with Destino from 2008-2013. You can read more of his posts here or on twitter.

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