Latinx Student Union brings community, cognizance to campus

By Olivia Montes
News Co-Editor

As the fall semester continues, the Washington College student-led organization Latinx Student Union seeks to raise acknowledgment and awareness about the growing Latinx community on campus. 

According to the Student Highlight on junior and LSU President Hernan Torres from the Office of Intercultural Affairs’ Nov. 3 newsletter, during his freshman year, Torres expressed interest in starting LSU after the former executive board members of the Latin America Student Association graduated and the organization disbanded. 

 “During my time at WC, I have seen an increase in Latinx students along with people who are interested in Latinx culture, [and] I wanted to create a space where we can all meet up and create formal and fun events in order to celebrate and embrace the impact that this culture has had throughout history,” Torres said. 

Torres formed the group along with Associate Professor of Spanish and Director of the Black Studies Program Dr. Elena Deanda-Camacho and Assistant Professor of Spanish Dr. Martin Ponti as advisors. Junior Hilary Contreras-Cruz and sophomore Esmeralda Chavez Jimenez also joined as the LSU vice president and treasurer respectively.

According to Chavez Jimenez, LSU will strive “to revive a Latinx/Hispanic club that would allow students to have a sense of familia [and] would allow students from the community to share experiences and their personal stories.”

“As a first generation Mexican-American, I hope to create a strong foundation of community around campus that allows students to feel encouraged to embrace their culture,” Chavez Jimenez said. “My vision is to also have faculty and staff involved with the activities/programs we host and create a bridge between students.” 

“Few of the Latinx students here at WC needed to do something about advocating and creating a community for all those that identify as Latino/a/x, Hispanic, Chicano, etc. or don’t,” Contreras-Cruz said. “I hope we gain a group of people passionate about the Latinx community and ready to be a safe place for those feeling left out because of their ethnicity.” 

According to Torres, LSU is currently in the process of planning several monthly cooking events for the spring 2022 semester — with specialties including “hand-made tacos with freshly made salsa, [thick flat-bread] Pupusas, and other great staple dishes” — as well as game movie nights. Additional events will include hosting guest speakers and initiating discussions with the College community about being Latinx American, which allows attendees to learn more about different cultures and experiences. 

“In the formal aspect, I will try to share the experiences of being a Latinx-American in the United States through programs, infographics, and more,” Torres said. “For the more hands-on events, we will be preparing and cooking different types of foods and meals based on different Latinx countries.” 

For more information concerning events and how to get involved with the organization, students can follow LSU on Instagram @wac_lsu. 

As the 2021-2022 academic year continues, Torres said that he hopes that LSU not only keeps growing, but also cements itself as a safe space, as well as an impactful force, for students on the College campus. 

“For this school year, I am hoping to continue to expand LSU to become more known to the WC community and continue to grow, with more and more people joining and supporting this organization,” he said. “I want to be able to make an impact on my campus where everyone feels welcomed and appreciated.”

Photo by Sammy Jarrett
Photo Caption: After the Washington College Latin America Student Association disbanded last year, junior Hernan Torres, along with fellow students junior Hilary Contreras-Cruz and sophomore Esmeralda Chavez Jimenez, decided to form the Latinx Student Union.

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