By: Mike Pardo
PARAMUS, NJ, Sept 29, 2023 — The Latin American Student Association has begun their initiative to promote inclusivity on campus, and establish growth and interest in the club this semester with plans to organize large meetups with other organizations, allowing members to meet new friends, network, and corroborate ideas to improve their club.r
This Hispanic Heritage Month, Bergen Community College’s very own club for Hispanic students, the Latin American Student Association, or ‘LASA’, is taking steps to attract new members and engage with the campus community.
Since Bergen Community College is a Hispanic Serving Institution and is associated with HACU, the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities, this proposes a multitude of opportunities for financial and academic support put in place to assist students from Hispanic communities. One of these is the option to take certain classes for free. The club’s secretary, Julio Villamares, was able to benefit from this and take an accounting class free of charge, thanks to a deal between HACU and Coursera, an open-online course provider founded in 2012 at Stanford University.
After attending the inaugural meeting, we got to know the brand-new Executive Board and asked them about what they are excited about this semester and how they plan to become more prominent on campus.
According to Sheila Serrano, the club’s external representative, LASA has successfully reached out to fifteen other Latin American organizations within other schools, including LASO at Montclair State University.
She believes that the new E-Board will change things for the better.
The new E-Board plans to improve upon how the club is perceived by readjusting its focus towards community engagement.
President Leo Barrientos, and Vice President Kiara Perez, have stated how in previous semesters, the club offered a plethora of information about scholarship opportunities and academic options open to hispanic students, of which there are many.
Though there was a lot of help that LASA had offered, it “was missing aspects of Hispanic culture and community engagement,” stated President Barrientos. A lot of this was due to the fact that the club effectively had to start from scratch after the school opened back up from the COVID-19 Pandemic.
Throughout the rest of the Fall 2023 semester, LASA plans on involvement with many upcoming events. There are workshops with the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society and plans for a Halloween party that are in motion in the near future.
On October 19th, there will be a keynote address from Marvel Comics writer and creator of La Barinqueña, Edgardardo Miranda-Rodriguez in the Anne Maria Ciccone Theater at 12:30pm. Tickets are available at the linktree available in the bio on the club’s Instagram page.
Under President Barrientos and the new Executive Board, LASA plans to revive this community aspect and help the club reach a balance between putting a spotlight on academic opportunities and hosting fun activities so club members can be proud of a student organization that celebrates their heritage.