The return of the Latin American Student Organization to Oklahoma Christian University is a new step in keeping a diverse campus.
The Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Student Council hosted an event called Celebración in the Brew on Oct. 15, where they announced LASO and celebrated Hispanic Heritage Month.
Yesenia Gomez, a member of LASO and a DEI Council representative, helped host Celebración. She said the event brought light to a culture many people have never seen before.
Students dressed up, took pictures and embraced the Latin culture, along with some Latin snacks such as Baby Lucas Chamoy, nachos and conchas (Mexican sweet bread).
“The event went well,” Gomez said. “There was food, music and crafts; the decor was so much better than I could’ve envisioned. We had a great crowd and people seemed to have fun as well as interested in the Hispanic and Latin culture.”
According to Gomez, LASO once had a presence on campus, but it has not been an active organization in a few years. While a student tried to revive the club during spring of 2019, it did not succeed. The organization has been struggling to stick around because they could not find a leader or enough students to back the organization.
However, Gomez said there was a lot of motivation to start the group back. Assitant Director of Residence Life John Ortiz played a part in bringing it back, as well as students interested in keeping Latin cultures seen on campus through future events and meetings. Christian Ruiz will serve as LASO’s president.
“In the DEI Student Council, we had discussed wanting to bring this group back because we wanted to see the Hispanic/Latinx community have their space and organization,” Gomez said. “There is the International Student Council Black Student Union and we just thought we should also bring back LASO. Trinity Carpenter did a lot to recruit students who are now officers of LASO and are overall interested in keeping our cultures seen.”
Gomez said LASO hopes to have more students sign up in the future since they have just started. She said many students want to be leaders in the organization, which is important because the group initially dissolved because few were willing to take on leadership roles.
Finally, Gomez said she hopes these opportunities give people access to their peers to help build connections among many people.
“I know that I want to have events that highlight our cultures and to bring more awareness of this community in our campus community,” Gomez said.