Colorado LDZ Youth Legislative Session returns to Colorado State University

Participants in the National Hispanic Institute’s Colorado Lorenzo de Zavala Youth Legislative Session collaborate and learn valuable leadership skills each year at CSU.

As part of its ongoing mission to educate the next generation of Latino leaders, the National Hispanic Institute will be bringing 150 students from six states and Mexico to Colorado State University for the annual Colorado Lorenzo de Zavala Youth Legislative Session, June 18-25.

The Lorenzo de Zavala Youth Legislative Session (known as the LDZ) is designed for high school students with the potential to become leaders within the U.S. and global Latino communities. The program introduces students to core NHI concepts as well as helping them to develop public speaking and teamwork skills, and much more.

“Our programs do more than teach students to be better public speakers, practice public policy, and prepare for college,” said NHI president and founder Ernesto Nieto. “Our students learn to dispense with the fear of failure. They learn to take risks and expect victory, and in doing so, change how they see themselves, how they see the world, how and where they can lead, and how they can best impact and transform their communities — be it opening a restaurant, becoming a doctor, or running for Congress.”

More than college admission

According to the NHI, 98 percent of its students enter college, with 90 percent receiving college degrees within five years.

But college is only one step toward a principled leadership thinking about the Latino community from the perspective of what it can offer, and not what problems within it need to be fixed, Nieto said. The LDZ program uses what NHI terms immersive-disruptive learning, a self-directed, student-centered method that encourages critical thinking and challenges society’s assumptions and conventions.

“Colorado State University has the longest-standing partnership in higher education with the National Hispanic Institute for the LDZ,” said Connie Jaime-Lujan, associate director for the Access Center at CSU, which hosts the conference. “This collaboration reflects our sustained mutual commitment to developing successful Latino leaders. We value LDZ’s program emphasis on establishing strong analytical and intellectual skills students need for success in college. LDZ transforms high school students in eight short days, and helps them to find their voice and place as leaders in their communities and on a college campus like ours at CSU.”

About LDZ

The Lorenzo de Zavala Youth Legislative Session was first held at the Texas Capitol over two days in 1982. By 1990, the program had expanded to the current eight-day program in three states, and continues to grow. Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Texas and Wyoming will be represented at the Colorado LDZ Youth Legislative Session this year.

The Colorado LDZ has been co-sponsored by Colorado State University and the National Hispanic Institute since 1989 and is the longest partnership in program history.

Community members are welcome to observe the LDZ Youth Legislative Session in action during the following times:

  • Welcome Address & Opening Ceremony: 9-10 a.m., Wednesday, June 21, CSU Lory Student Center North Ballroom.
  • Closing Ceremony: 4-4:30 p.m., Friday, June 23, CSU Lory Student Center North Ballroom
  • Final Supreme Court Trial: 6:30-8 p.m., Friday, June 23, CSU Lory Student Center North Ballroom
  • Awards Ceremony: 6-8 p.m., Saturday, June 24, CSU Lory Student Center Theatre

For more information about the program, contact Connie Jaime-Lujan via email at or phone at (970) 491-4035.

This program is made possible in part by sponsorship from DishLATINO and Union Pacific.