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Wharton Latino Elects Its First Ever Italian-American President


Photo by islandworks / CC by 2.0

“I am, like, so excited to be serving this population!” exclaimed Karen White, a junior in the Huntsman program, after being elected as the new president of Wharton Latino. White makes history as the first Italian ever to lead the organization!

During elections, one of the most pressing issues was representation. Wharton Latino was “established with the purpose of promoting and bringing together the Latino community within the University of Pennsylvania.” Its constituents represent many different countries in South America, and even some countries in the Caribbean. This is exactly what made Karen White the perfect candidate, especially during this unprecedented time when COVID-19 has glaringly highlighted the racial and socioeconomic disparities of the United States. White noticed a lack of Italian representation in the organization and felt inclined to create change by bringing diversity to the group.

When asked about her qualifications for the role, Karen pointed to her commitment to Italian and Latino culture. “My great grandfather was Italian, and I absolutely LOVE going to Latin BBQ every year. It’s one of my favorite Penn traditions,” stated White. Additionally, she explained that she knew she would be a competitive and appealing candidate among the other nominees as a white woman from New York. “It’s like affirmative action,” she giggled. 

Not only does Karen bring Italian representation to the Latino group, she also technically comes from a middle-class background! Throughout high school, White recalls having to take the MTA a couple of times instead of ordering an Uber. Because of this, she hopes to make the club more accessible to students who unfortunately were not born into rich families in Latin America. White has many ambitious initiatives she wants to tackle in her new role, including reduced ticket prices to Latin BBQ for students who know what FAFSA is and hopefully moving La Casa Latina out of the ARCH basement, although that is not the first thing on her list of priorities.