Members of OSU Institute of Technology’s newest student club, Latinos & Amigos, may have joined for different reasons, but they all share the same hope for the club—to see it grow and become one of the strongest student organizations on campus.
The Latinos & Amigos Club officially started in April 2015 and soon began attracting students from across campus.
Club President Hannah DelaPena is from Okmulgee, but her father and his family are from Mexico.
“I didn’t have a chance to learn much about my family in Mexico. This club has given me the chance to learn more about that culture,” said DelaPena, who is studying Business.
Manuel Lopez, Manufacturing Technologies student and the club’s web master, grew up in Venezuela and Oklahoma, so Latinos & Amigos offers him a chance to be around students like him.
“For me, it’s a chance to be with people I relate to. Some of us speak Spanish, others are trying to learn,” Lopez said, and it’s interesting to hear from people who grew up in different Hispanic cultures. “The dialects of Spanish are definitely different. When I would talk, it’s a different dialect of Spanish than what they speak in Oklahoma.”
Club Vice President Daniel Sanchez said he looks at the Latinos & Amigos Club as an outreach tool.
“I hope the club teaches others to learn about our culture and the way we live,” said Sanchez, who is studying Civil Engineering Technology. “The club may also increase the number of Hispanic students on campus. It hopefully will give potential students a reason to come to OSUIT.”
Hector Navarrete and Darin Hassell are co-advisors for the club, which saw a drop in membership due to summer internships and graduation.
The upcoming semester is an opportunity to introduce Latinos & Amigos to new students.
“You don’t have to be Latino to join,” Lopez said. “If students just want to learn more about the culture, they are welcome to join or just sit in on some meetings.”
Latinos & Amigos will resume their weekly meetings on Wednesday, Sept. 9 at 6 p.m. in the Viersen Lounge in the Student Union.
The club is also planning a cultural display in October about Dia de Muertos, Day of the Dead.
“Day of the Dead is a celebration that is prevalent in Hispanic cultures, and we want to showcase that tradition,” Navarrette said.
As president of the club, DelaPena hopes to see the club flourish on campus.
“I would like it to grow and be a place of encouragement for people who feel like they want to belong and want to learn more about the culture,” she said. “It’s an amazing culture.”