The Latino Student Union, a club that has withered throughout the years of being an organization at UAA, is trying to maintain a steady presence once again on campus.
“It’s an organization that gives voice to our Hispanic community. Our main goal is to get together and make a change, but also for other students of other cultures to join and learn more about the Hispanic culture,” Ana Azpilcueta, LSU president, said.
Recent events that LSU has held, like their Día de los Muertos dance party held for the end of the Mexican holiday, Day of the Dead, had many attendees from the student body. The dance party hosted around 60 attendees, which was actually smaller than their first event of the semester in September, which had around 80 attendees.
“You don’t have to be Hispanic or speak Spanish; if you just want to learn about the culture, you’re more than welcome to come to the meetings. That’s the entire goal of [LSU],” Isabel Azpilcueta Balsimelli, LSU treasurer, said.
Balsimelli, a biological sciences freshman and member of Anchorage’s Mariachi Agave Azul, joined partly because her sister is president of the club, but also because she was new to UAA and was looking for an opportunity to be involved on campus.
“I’m very passionate about spreading the love for my culture ever since I moved here. That was kind of why I joined the mariachi band in the first place, to still kind of have that connection with my country, but also share it with other people,” Balsimelli said.
The meetings are a time to gather to talk about upcoming events LSU hopes to plan or be a part of, as well as chatting about different topics and getting to socialize with each other at the end of the meeting.
“Making friends and having a space where Spanish speakers and any ethnic minorities are welcome and can socialize and work together to better our community is priceless. I also really enjoy learning about other people’s cultures in a casual way and being able to share my own with everyone,” Samuel Prieto Cascajares, nursing student and member of LSU, said.
Though Azpilcueta plans on graduating spring 2018, she has hope that this club will continue to be successful for years to come. The club currently has around 20 members.
“We have a lot of freshmen and sophomores who are very excited to do events. And [we have a] couple of seniors, and that’s good too because they have experience planning events and they’re good leaders. I think we’re lucky with the kind of people that have decided to join. We still need a little more organization and figuring out what our tasks are and what we need to do , but I think so far we’ve been doing great,” Azpilcueta said.
LSU’s meetings are held on the second floor of the Student Union, Fridays at 6 p.m.