Diana Salgado Huicochea works in Campus Ministry as the assistant director of outreach for minority students. Recently, Bianca Feix ’25, a student assistant for the Liu Institute, interviewed Diana about her path to Notre Dame and the important work she does on campus.
Bianca: To start off, please give me your Notre Dame introduction: name, hometown, major, north or south dining hall?
Diana: My name is Diana Salgado Huicochea. My hometown is Portland, Oregon. My majors in undergrad at the University of Portland (another Holy Cross school) were biology and theology with a neuroscience minor. And my preferred dining hall would be North. I know it’s controversial, but I really like North Dining Hall.
Bianca: I agree with that sentiment. It’s interesting that you majored in biology and theology. I feel like that’s not something people usually associate with each other.
Diana: Right. I was actually in the premed track for biology and I loved it. The theology major came by accident because we were required to take theology classes. And I took so many of them because they were so fun. I procrastinated doing biology by doing theology stuff, and all my electives were theology.
Bianca: What brought you to Notre Dame?
Diana: I came here as a graduate student in 2020 as part of the Echo Graduate Program, a service program where you earn a master’s in theology while also doing service for the Church. During the school year, you are placed somewhere in the United States or Ireland. I was placed in West Lafayette, Indiana, where I worked at a parish until I graduated in June. A week after graduation, I started working here in Campus Ministry. So basically my graduate program brought me to Notre Dame, and God just called me to stay here.
Bianca: And we’re happy to have you here. How long have you been working with Campus Ministry then?
Diana: Since June 2022.
Bianca: What do you do at Campus Ministry?
Diana: As assistant director of outreach, I work with Black Student Ministry, Asian Student Ministry, and Latino Student Ministry, as well as interfaith and international students. Most of the work that I do is providing spaces for minority students to exercise their faith or come together as a community.
Faith can be very tied to a culture, so I work to help students express faith according to their culture and make sure people feel welcomed.
Bianca: Why is it so important to make sure these spaces exist for students on campus?
Notre Dame students come from many, many different backgrounds, and with that comes different perspectives. This influences how we provide opportunities for students to grow in faith. For example, we’ve been hosting a Spanish Mass in the Basilica, which used to be in a dorm.
So I focus on how we can create more faith opportunities for students from minority groups. As a Holy Cross institution, we focus on educating the heart and the mind, the whole person, and faith is definitely part of that education.
It’s really important to have those spaces where students can talk or even express doubt, all while doing it in the safety of the community you belong to, while at the same time reaching out to other communities.
And it’s especially important during these formative years in undergrad. You’re away from your parents, so it’s definitely up to the students to take ownership for whatever they want to, and part of that needs to be faith.
Campus Ministry really impacted me when I was an undergrad, because it opened the faith to me. I didn’t grow up going to Catholic schools, so college was the first time I realized I could go on retreats, pilgrimages, and Bible studies, and do all of this in communities. That is why it’s really important to me that students have those opportunities.
Bianca: How can students here get involved with Campus Ministry?
Diana: There are so many opportunities to get involved! Campus Ministry is very approachable to all levels of faith. You can drop in to an event or attend a liturgical service that’s happening around campus. We are just starting to build up Black, Asian, and Latino student ministries, so there are a lot of leadership opportunities. Also, if someone wants to see something that’s not happening on campus, I can work with them to create a program.
We have choirs, Need-to-Talk, which are drop-in hours where you can just come and talk to someone confidentially, retreats, and many opportunities for community service outside Notre Dame. We also have people that can help you discern your path post-undergrad.
During Lent, we have Bible studies for Asian and Latino student ministries where students can come and be with others from similar backgrounds exploring the Bible or some form of devotion.
Bianca: So you can basically get what you want to get out of Campus Ministry?
Yes, definitely. And there are some really cool internship opportunities like the Anchor Internship, where student workers help out in their choice of ministry. I have openings for Black, Asian, and Latino student ministries, and there are also positions for retreats, social justice, pastoral care, liturgy, and more.
Bianca: What has been your favorite Campus Ministry event so far?
Diana: Ooh, my favorite? That’s hard because there’s so many great ones. Last semester, we did a Black Ecumenical Prayer Service in the CoMo chapel. It was reading Scripture, praying with music, journaling, and a student reflection. On a Catholic campus you usually see a priest giving the homily, but it was powerful to see a student give the reflection. It is beautiful to see students take leadership.
Can I say one more?
Diana: My other favorite was the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, a campus-wide event in December. The Latino Student Ministry coordinated the event, and people from all over the University came together in the Basilica. It was great to see this small ministry create such a big event for the entire campus community.
Bianca: That’s amazing. Last question: What is one thing you want students to know about you or what you do?
I definitely want to tell students that they have a home here in Campus Ministry. They shouldn’t be intimidated by faith or religion. We want to listen and we want to dive deep into conversations. We have an amazing staff that really cares for students, so please come talk to us! Wherever you are in your faith, Campus Ministry is here for you.
Originally published by asia.nd.edu on March 01, 2023.at