by Emilia Boggs ‘20
What does it mean to be Latina, Latino, or Latinx in the world today? What are the typical traditions and celebrations in Latin American countries? What are some of the political, social, or economic current events going on in the Spanish-speaking world? These are just a few of the common questions that served as an inspiration to start the Latinx Student Union. At the beginning of last year, fellow student Nicole Vernot-Jonas’ 20 and I noticed that there was not a club specifically dedicated to Latin-American culture. So, at the start of our sophomore year, we found a sponsor, created a poster, and displayed our club to the Upper School during clubs fair. As people stopped to look and read our poster, we handed out cupcakes and cookies, almost as a bribe to get people to join. However, even as we ran out of food, we noticed that people were genuinely intrigued in our club and wanted to learn more. Therefore, we began to hold regular F-day meetings with consistent members starting the first F-day after the clubs fair. That's the story of how it all began.
Now, I actually want to dive into what people care about: What are the dynamics of LSU? What did we accomplish our first year as a club? How did we get to where we are today? What are our goals for this year and years to come?
The mission statement of LSU is to create a learning environment open to people of all backgrounds, to spread awareness about Latinx issues, and to learn typical traditions and celebrations of Latinx culture. During the first official meeting, Nicole and I wanted to stress the idea that anyone and everyone is welcome, no matter if you are Latinx or not, and that, although we held formal elections at the end of last year, all decisions would be made as a club. Therefore, the environment of LSU is consistently inclusive and everyone has a say in what we do. For example, before any event, we sit down as a club and discuss our ideas to decide if we want to pursue them or not. I believe that this is one of the main reasons why LSU is the way it is today. As I mentioned, we did hold formal elections at the end of last year. We voted on president, treasurer, and secretary. Amanda DeCastro’ 19 and Ashley Frago’ 19 are this year’s presidents, Mary Grealy’ 19 is this year’s treasurer, and Prasanna Patel’ 19 is this year’s secretary. Although we do have official positions, everyone is still encouraged to speak out and we always discuss as a club any ideas before we pursue them.
As an overall whole, I consider last year to be an extremely successful first year of LSU. We began the year by hosting meetings based on traditions such as Dia de Los Muertos and Dia de San Valentín, as well as watching Spanish films based on events from the perspective of Latin America. In addition, we wrote thank-you cards on Thanksgiving to the receptionists who are a pivotal role of the Latinx community here at NCS. Outside of club meetings, we raised over $200 to donate to earthquake victims in Puerto Rico, we hosted a speaker, Natalie Carabello, a survivor of the hurricane in Puerto Rico who is currently working in Running Start which is a nonprofit organization that trains young women to run for office, and we made “amigos grams,” which were cards that students and faculty could send each to each other with supportive messages and candy specifically during AP exam weeks.
So far, LSU has been working hard over the summer and throughout the school year to come up with fun and exciting events for this year. Our goal for the year is to host many educational and fun events so that people can get a better understanding of Latin-American culture. We also hope to collaborate with other clubs to host events where everyone feels welcome. We are excited about how far the club has come but we are even more excited to see where the club will go. We encourage everyone to stop by at least one meeting to see how we work and how much fun we have!