College - Author 1

College of Liberal Arts

Department - Author 1

Modern Languages and Literatures Department

Degree Name - Author 1

BA in Modern Languages and Literatures



Primary Advisor

Silvia Marijuan, College of Liberal Arts, World Languages and Cultures Department


As a culminating project for a graduate in Modern Languages & Literatures and Comparative Ethnic Studies, this research paper focuses on the concepts of sense of belonging in institutions of higher education, specifically in relation to the presence of heritage languages within cultural clubs and organizations. It explores this relationship through a survey sent to Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo students involved in various cultural clubs and organizations, exploring their feelings of sense of belonging as tied to the university in general, alongside their club/organization, while also inquiring about the presence of their heritage language in various spaces at the university. This study provides insight on the current presence of heritage languages in cultural clubs and organizations and their efforts in maintaining that presence, alongside the ways that this presence can foster a sense of belonging in students. It is supplemented with a literature review on previous research done on sense of belonging and heritage languages, alongside a reflection on my own experiences throughout this project. In all, the purpose of this research project is to explore whether the presence of heritage languages within cultural clubs and organizations affects a student’s sense of belonging at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo and to lay groundwork for possible future research within the fields of linguistics, ethnic studies, and higher education student development.