By Cait Kemp
Springfield College is home to an array of clubs and organizations, making sure everyone has something they can be a part of. One of the newest additions to the list is the Latinx Student Organization, or LSO. Although new, LSO has already begun to make a difference on campus and will continue to grow throughout the year.
LSO is advised by Robert Yanez and Benjamin Morales, and has a student executive board as well. The president is junior Elaine Ortiz who is bringing her other involvement on campus to this club.
Ortiz is a Dance and Business Management double major and is the Cultural Connections Coordinator for the Multicultural Office. With her dance background, she worked with the Dancers Against Racism program to help bring in a Latinx dancer David Olarte, who has 20 year’s experience in performing and teaching salsa and is the founder of Silo Dance Company.
“He taught a couple of master classes, I believe, and he just came with a bunch of different origins about how salsa was created,” said Ortiz. “So, he just gave an amazing class on all the history and gave little demonstrations and gave us some music that we could connect to. It was a really awesome collaboration to be able to work with the dance department to bring that dancer in.”
The LSO strives to be a unique experience on campus. They are not exclusive to Latinx students, but want to become a place that carries ally ship, so others can learn about the culture while having fun doing activities such as the dance session.
“It’s providing support for our students…and helping our students, particularly Latinx students, to find a place to connect for friendship, support and to have fun,” said Yanez.
It is also different from other clubs in that they allow for members to participate in what they are interested in and do not require attendance at every meeting or event.
“Let’s say you’re interested in a particular scholarship, or even more fun, in terms of looking at some service project. You don’t have to dedicate your entire time frame; you can dedicate one project and contribute that to the organization,” said Yanez.
“That way you can shine, that’s your thing, that’s your passion as opposed to ‘no this organization is only doing this.’”
For the future, LSO is looking to host more events on campus during spring semester, however it is difficult to plan with COVID-19 as a continuous threat. One idea Ortiz is holding onto is a Latinx folklore reading night. It would be a fun opportunity to learn about latinx folklore and the reasons behind their legends and style of writing. She said it would be held virtually, but would allow easy access for the community to participate and gain some knowledge on the culture.
So, as we move towards the end of the semester and the beginning of winter break, keep in mind that LSO is ready and excited for the spring and is looking forward to growing within the Springfield College community.
“We want other races and ethnicities to come and join and give their opinion and bring more awareness to those students of the Latinx culture,” Ortiz said.
Be sure to keep a look out for events and activities coming from the LSO.
Photo Courtesy of LSO