Jon Moreno – Managing Editor –
Sept. 15 marked the beginning of Hispanic Heritage Month so to welcome its arrival, the Organization of Latin American Students decided to hold a free event by name of Fiesta Latina 2012 for students featuring a live band, cultural cuisine and beverages.
“It’s a big event for Southern, for all of the Latinos out here,” President of OLAS Erika Colon said. “We have to show a little bit of what we are, we’re sometimes under the radar.”
This was the first time OLAS put together Fiesta Latina 2012.
The event was held on Monday, on the outside patio of the student center and featured the seven-piece band Son 7 which is based out of New York.
The band played a number of songs combining elements of Latin Rock and Salsa.
While some students danced to the band’s music, others were in line to try out a number of foods from the Latin culture including acapurrias, plantains and empanadas.
“This is to basically bring awareness of not only the Latino culture but we want to learn about other cultures and want other people to stop by and say ‘what’s going on here?’ as we show them a little bit of our music and a little bit of our food,” OLAS advisor Anna Rivera. “It’s all about bringing cultures together.”
OLAS worked together with the Multicultural Center to put the event together according to Rivera. It also marked the beginning of other events happening during the semester made possible by the partnership.
The annual Noche De Gala is scheduled for Oct. 18.
Money raised from the tickets will provide a couple of incoming freshmen of Latin descent with a scholarship.
Rivera said OLAS also plans to bring in Latino motivational speakers to Southern, provide high school students in the area with help preparing for college, and show a number of films that shed light on the culture.
“We’ve never done this before, it’s exciting,” Vice President of OLAS Angelica Heron said. We’ve reached out more to the community and we’ve been asked to do a lot of events, showing Latino women and men that we are here and we can succeed in life and that they are not alone.”
OLAS holds its meetings every Monday at 1 p.m. in room 201 in the student center.
Since Heron is a junior, she said she has grown fond of her group over the years. She’s worked her way up as she began as a casual member to becoming secretary and eventually Vice President.
“OLAS to me personally is like another family,” she said. “It reminds me to never forget my culture and never forget who I am.”
For students that have apprehensions about being in a club like OLAS, Rivera has simple words for them.
“I just want the campus to be more aware and be open,” she said. “OLAS is opened to everyone, you don’t have to be Latino to join us.”