Alumni Spotlight: Luna Luna
“For me, Arrupe’s tight-knit community was the best. Everyone was invested in me and wanted to see me succeed.”
Luna Luna (AA ’17) got the email from Georgetown University in May 2017. They were just beginning to look ahead to their final summer at Arrupe College, followed by graduation in August, and then transfer to Loyola University Chicago in the fall. But then, Georgetown reached out to them, and all of their plans changed. “Honestly, I didn’t expect to be accepted into Georgetown,” Luna said. “I still applied because people pushed me to. And with that acceptance, a new opportunity came. I visited the campus, and in the end, although not an easy decision, I decided to go.”
Born in Mexico and raised on the southwest side of Chicago, the doors to higher education had felt shut due to Luna’s undocumented immigration status. When Luna discovered Arrupe’s welcoming and accepting community, they found access to higher education when it felt like nowhere else was an option. Small class sizes, one-on-one time with faculty and advisors, and the resources to thrive and earn an associate’s degree were among the many other benefits that attracted Luna to Arrupe.
During their first semester at Arrupe, they balanced a full-time job at McDonald’s with schoolwork and frequently found themselves working on assignments until the early hours of the morning. “I was just going to classes and then going to work,” they said. “But I realized that that’s not what I wanted from my college experience. I wanted more.”
Soon, Luna found a part-time job that allowed them to balance work, school, and a variety of activities. After this shift, they decided to make the most out of their college experience and get as involved as possible. In their two years at Arrupe, Luna became involved in student government and founded the Dreamers and Allies Student Organization, a student-run club providing support and organizing awareness for undocumented students. These leadership roles ultimately led to Luna being awarded Loyola’s prestigious President’s Medallion. For Luna, Arrupe provided the path to the college experience they had always wanted. “What I had hoped for in the beginning,” Luna said, “had come true.”
After graduating from Arrupe, Luna settled in at Georgetown in Washington, D.C., where they majored in government and minored in philosophy. Outside of the classroom, Luna also served on the Policy and Advocacy team of United We Dream, the nation’s largest immigrant youth-led network.
On campus, departments like the Georgetown Scholars Program, LGBTQ Resource Center, and Center for Multicultural Equity and Access empowered Luna to grow within the Georgetown community. “Georgetown was really challenging but rewarding,” they said. “I grew more as a person and felt comfortable embracing my authentic self.”
When Luna came across Civic Consulting Alliance (CCA) during their job search post-graduation, they found a consulting model that fit their style – a public-private collaboration. This was different from the consulting culture they had observed at Georgetown, one that was focused on profits and competition. In May 2021, Luna joined CCA as an Analyst where they serve public and social sector clients working at a systems-level toward inclusive and equitable solutions not only for Chicago but the region and beyond. Currently, they are working on a project to bring together 25 companies who are working to advance racial equity through business practices related to inclusive employment, minority owned business growth, and transformational neighborhood investment.
“It’s exciting to be on a team working towards making the Chicagoland region – my hometown – a great place for everyone to live in and work,” Luna said.