Latin American Student Association; Where culture meets fun

Oct 12, 2018
Latin American Student Association; Where culture meets fun
Florida Polytechnic University students (from left to right) Dominic Dodson, Shirley García, and James Rodríguez are members of Florida Poly’s Latin American Student Association (LASA), a club that shares the fun and value of Hispanic traditions.

Editor’s Note: This story is part of a series of feature stories that highlight diversity on Florida Poly’s campus and celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month.

Do you enjoy salsa, the one you eat and the one you dance? Does the game of dominó intrigue you as a new STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) challenge? Does reggaeton music make your body move? If so, then Florida Poly has the perfect club for you.

The Latin American Student Association (LASA) is a one-stop shop for cheerful entertainment and camaraderie while expanding your cultural horizons. Don’t speak Spanish? No worries. Members don’t even have to be Latino to join the fun.

“We love sharing our culture through dance, food, games and so many fun events,” said the president of LASA Shirley García, a mechanical engineering senior from Tallahassee, Florida. “I think it builds a family community. We are all joined together, not separated, by our culture.”

LASA was founded at Florida Poly in 2015 with just a handful of students who wanted to educate about other cultures and spread diversity within the school. García said that since it began, membership has increased to about 50 students. These include students from Mexico, Brazil, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Argentina, Colombia, and Ecuador.

The club organizes more than a dozen activities throughout the academic year. Their most popular events are the weekly salsa classes. “Even Dr. Avent came and danced in one of them,” said García, about university president Dr. Randy K. Avent. LASA also hosts several salsa parties so students can show off all the moves they’ve learned.

Other events include game nights featuring well-known Latin American games like dominó and lotería, and movie nights to enjoy some of the most famous Hispanic-themed films like “Selena.” And for those wanting to take a shot at Despacito, Spanish Karaoke Night provides the perfect opportunity to have fun doing so.

“This club helps with a better understanding of the Hispanic culture so we can all enjoy it more,” said vice president of LASA James Rodríguez, a computer science sophomore from Winter Garden, Florida. “We welcome everyone. We’re fun. Our culture is fun.”

Students interested in joining LASA should email García.