The Oregon State University Sesquicentennial Oral History Project

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Nicthé Verdugo Oral History Interview

Life history interview conducted by Chris Petersen.

February 13, 2015


“Reflections of a Student Activist”  February 13, 2015  Location: Valley Library, Oregon State University.  Watch Video | Download Transcript (PDF)

In the interview, Verdugo discusses her upbringing in California, Puerto Rico and Arizona, her family background, and her high school experiences. She then notes her decision to attend OSU, her academic progression, and coursework that has made an impact on her world view.

The session then turns its attention to its primary topic - Verdugo's work as a student activist. She describes her association with Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlán (MEChA), the work that the OSU chapter has done, and the cultural importance of the term "Chicano." She likewise recalls her efforts as part of the Mesoamerican Student Association, her co-founding of United Students Against Sweatshops, and the Alta Gracia campaign that the organization spearheaded.

From there she reflects on the role played by the Centro Cultural César Chávez at OSU, shares her thoughts on issues of concern to the university's Latino and Chicano students, details an internship that she held in the Dominican Republic that focused on fair labor practices, and notes her involvement with the Summer Leadership Camp for Creative Democracy at OSU.

The interview next shifts focus to Verdugo's work at the OSU Women's Center. In discussing her time there, Verdugo recounts her earliest involvement with the center, the activities that she has been a part of since then, the development of her identity as a Chicana feminist, and the impact of the center on the broader campus community. She also shares her perspective on the contemporary climate for women at OSU and the larger culture of student activism at Oregon State.

The session concludes with Verdugo's thoughts on the current direction of OSU and her ideas on a career path that she would like to pursue.