Filling in the gaps
Representation and diversity are essential in establishing an inclusive atmosphere at Eckerd College. Clubs like Afro-American Society (AAS) were active and effective in student engagement with the Black community throughout the last year through weekly meetings and events such as silent disco. This semester, Latinos Unidos aims to increase the appreciation towards the Latin community on campus.
“I heard about the club when I was touring Eckerd.” sophomore Many Sarassa, member, recalls. “I was always interested in joining. Since I wasn’t here during my first semester, I still got information from Eckerd and knew I could be part of the [Latinos Unidos] club without technically being on campus.”
With COVID regulations last year, the club’s activities were primarily focused on discussion and conversation-based activities online, along with a CPS event. Sarassa hopes that the club will host multiple in-person events for the entire Eckerd community to learn and understand Latin culture.
“Latinos Unidos has always been a group where you can literally just come here, enjoy yourself and learn more about the culture.” Sarassa said.
Unite and ignite
Karolina Colon, a senior in environmental studies, took on the role of Vice President this year. Though she was never a staff member, she actively participated since her first year.
“The club is a way to have a safe space for Latinx and Hispanic students.” Colon said. “In classroom settings, I’m usually one of two or maybe three Hispanic students. But with the club, we can see for ourselves the representation of the Latin community.”
Though the club centers around Latin culture, everyone is welcome to attend events and even hold leadership positions.
“Everyone is super welcome.” Prech Potesak, first year and president of the club, said. “I want people to understand the culture and know that Latin people aren’t just from Mexico. There are different cultures within the bulk culture.”
The future looks bright
This semester, the club has many plans for involving the Eckerd community in better understanding Latin culture. So far, during informal club events, students have watched soccer matches together and cooked traditional food in lounges. In the future, Sarassa plans to have salsa classes weekly.
“Everyone likes to dance and everyone would enjoy having a space that is non-formal and chill to learn salsa.” Sarassa said. “Especially when you’re dancing with friends.”
Sarassa notes that everyone on campus seems excited to host and attend events that are centered around the Latin community. She hopes the club will use their events as an opportunity to not only entertain, but also to educate the campus regarding misconceptions surrounding Latin culture.
“Now, with the new leadership and with the help of the DEI and Culture Council, hopefully we can get events going.” Colon said. “Our first official meeting will be held this Wednesday, September 15, behind Fox Hall.”
The beginning of Hispanic Heritage Month is also Sep. 15.
Among the events planned are dance parties and classes, cook outs and potlucks as well as larger events centered around Latin holidays.
“Everyone is welcome and I want everyone to feel welcome.” Potesak said. “Whether you’re Latin or not, we just want you to come. We’re all just here to have fun and a good time. It;s a safe environment.”
To get involved, students can contact the Instagram page (@ECLatinosUnidos) and Potesak or Colon through their personal emails. The first official interest meeting will be held at 5 p.m. on Wednesday, Sep. 15 at the Fox Hall Patio.
The Latinos Unidos club aspires to increase the appreciation and understanding of Latin culture - both for Latin students and non-Latin students. The club hopes that everyone feels welcome and proud.
“If it’s in your blood, it’s in your blood,” Potesak said. “Don’t let nobody tell you otherwise.”