Fun and festivities opened the weekend as Kalamazoo College’s Latino Student Organization (LSO) hosted campus events for the K community to enjoy.
First Friday, an open campus event, treated K students to a folklorico dance feature followed by dance lessons, tamales and horchata.
LSO’s Underclassman Co-President Michelle Alba ‘19 explained the student organization’s role on campus, stating that, “LSO’s mission is to create a sense of home on campus and to provide leadership opportunities and academic success for our members.”
Alba proceeded to say that First Friday was a “preview of Noche de Juegos,” a Zoo After Dark event featuring games and dancing, and a “preview of what we bring to campus—a sense of home.”
“We bring food and dance in order to explain who we are as an organization and to show that we are very dedicated to our members and welcoming other people who are interested in joining LSO,” continued Alba.
Alejandro Alaniz ‘18, the Public Relations Commissioner for LSO, explained that the student organization “tries to incorporate these themes throughout meetings and events” by discussing community issues, networking, and “bringing in local food and games to help our members feel more connected with the Latino community.”
LSO’s October 1st Hispanic Heritage Brunch featured speakers from Kalamazoo College’s Class of 2020 and the College’s President Dr. Jorge Gonzalez.
All events took place during National Hispanic Heritage Month, a month “in tribute to generations of Hispanic Americans who have positively influenced and enriched out nation and society” (National Hispanic Heritage Month).
National Hispanic Heritage Month allows the student organization to further explore the celebration of Hispanic heritage.
“[In this month] we’re broadening our reach; LSO’s membership is predominately of Mexican background, but we also have members from [nations like] Nicaragua or El Salvador or Brazil, so we try to get their celebratory aspects incorporated into our organization,” commented Alaniz. “We try to see other sides of Hispanic heritage, not just Mexican.”
“We get to show campus from where each one of us comes, because we’re not all of the same cultural background,” added Alba.
LSO was established in 2005, has over 35 active members, and on campus is often regarded as one of Kalamazoo College’s most prominent student organizations.
“There’s a lot of pressure but we’re very dedicated,” responded Alba when asked about the student organization’s reputation. “I’m very honored to be part of an organization with a [vision],” she continued, admitting, “I hope that the way we organize our student organization can be an inspiration to other organizations that seek stability.”
“LSO has a strong background thanks to our previous leadership,” recalled Alaniz, saying, “we’re proud of that, and we’re doing everything we can to continue.” Over 155 K students attended Noche de Juegos, and both First Friday and Noche de Juegos events ran out of food, “a good indicator of popularity,” Alaniz explained.
LSO holds meetings every Tuesday at 6:00pm in the Hicks Center Banquet Hall and is open to students of all backgrounds.