Latin American Student Association celebrates heritage

Friday, Oct. 3, the Latin American Student Association gave free food and colorful performances at Sabor Latino to celebrate 14 years of sharing and exploring Latino heritage. Volunteers showcased musical performances, spoken word, cultural dances and food, as well as a 30-minute salsa lesson followed by an hour of dancing.

“Sabor Latino holds a multitude of purposes,” said Casimir De Jesus Peña, LASA president and senior sociology major. “Primarily, this event’s goal is to express the diverse Latino culture with the greater APU community. It also seeks to reconnect with LASA alumni and include our students’ families in the college experience.”

The venue, Upper Turner Campus Center, was transformed from what most students would recognize as a space for chapel to become a sanctuary for celebration. Covering the main floor were tables draped with black tablecloths and decorated with clear marble rocks, a variety of miniature Sabor Latino posters and candles, while rows of chairs were set off to the side to accommodate overflow seating. The buffet was in the back and the stage front and center, accented by four unique and colorful event posters.

“Sabor Latino was such a wonderful experience,” said Jenevie Riojas, freshman political science major. “It was not only beautiful to watch all the talented performers, but also such an inspiration and motivation to be a part of the Latin American community.”

The event is one of many efforts to facilitate and promote awareness and understanding of diversity among those in the student body.

“As a member of LASA, and a Latina, it is very hard to find a place where we are able to express and celebrate our culture,” said Betty Garcia, vice president and junior social work major. “Going into this event, I knew that students needed that safe space, not only to express their culture through art, but also have the opportunity to teach the APU community who we are truly are. That is what LASA had in mind as we prepared for Sabor Latino: having the opportunity to come together as a familia and celebrate who we are has been what Sabor Latino is all about, and it was an honor to be able to be the chairwoman of this event.”

LASA seeks to create and transform leaders in order to advance the Latino community on APU’s campus and in the nation. All students are welcomed and encouraged to join. The next official meeting takes place Tuesday, Oct. 14 at 9:30 p.m. in Wynn 11.