OLAS holds dance to kick off National Heritage Month
Ali Fernand – Features Editor
The Organization of Latin American Students (OLAS) held a dance event called “Latin Moves” in the Adanti Student Center Ballroom on September 6th. This was a night open to all students to learn the basics of a few Latin American styles of dance.
“Latin Moves” was one of the first events held to kick off the new semester at Southern. This event stands out from others. It offered students both a chance to get active their first weeks back on campus and to learn something new about Latin American culture. The event was offered to all levels of dance skill, making it easily accessible for students who are new to these dance styles.
“People can come and learn new dance moves with us, like Bachata, Salsa, Merengue,” president of OLAS Cristal Rivas said.
Students were able to get a taste of what the organization has to offer. OLAS has its own dance team, making this an opportunity to explore how students might want to be involved.
“Latin Moves” is an event that the organization typically does during Week of Welcome. It is an event that captures the fun and embrace of culture that OLAS represents as an organization.
“It gives a chance for students at Southern to come see what our organization is about,” public relations Arianna Ruiz said. “We want to educate the campus on what we’re about here.”
OLAS offers a way for Latinx students to embrace their heritage and place on campus. It also allows non-Latinx students to learn more about Latinx culture. Creating an atmosphere of respect and appreciation is valuable to many students at the university and “Latin Moves” offered exactly that.
“I hope [Southern students] can get not only educational information, but just build new friendships with us,” said Ruiz.
All OLAS events are also an opportunity for students to socialize. Latin Moves began with everyone introducing themselves. This made it less tense for students who might be nervous going into a dance event.
The organization puts in effort to make students comfortable at their events. “Latin Moves” included a variety of snacks and beverages for the attendees to enjoy. This kept everyone energized and hydrated so they could focus on learning the dance moves.
The timing of “Latin Moves was not coincidental. It was held with a clear purpose of what it wanted to represent.
“It’s something to kick off Hispanic Heritage Month,” said Rivas.
September 15th – October 15th is Hispanic Heritage Month, making this event a way for students to get educated. This is a month meant to celebrate the impacts and accomplishments of Hispanic culture in the United States.
It is important for students to be able to celebrate Hispanic Heritage month within the community. OLAS has a mission to make sure Latin American students are not just represented but protected on campus.
“We represent Latin American students as a minority on campus” vice president, Nadia Morales said.
As a Social Justice campus, it is important for the university to have representation for the Latin American community on campus. OLAS is a cultural organization at the university. By having organizations like OLAS, students can feel more welcome.
OLAS likes to get creative with its events. They have a new plan every year to represent different cultures and identities at the university.
“Every year we try to celebrate a Hispanic country,” said Rivas, “This year we are trying to do Guatemala.”
By recognizing these different countries, students can feel proud of their heritage. They can feel comforted knowing that there is a place on campus that represents their culture.
“I hope students can come and recognize the Hispanic community here at Southern,” Rivas said.