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Towson University




Transcription of Interview - LASO


CM:

Towson University, located in the suburbs of Baltimore, has several student groups and organizations that are active on campus and in the community. One of these organizations is LASO. LASO, which is an acronym for the Latin American Student Organization, strives to promote culture and awareness at Towson University and the greater Baltimore area.

BaltimoreStories.com was able to speak to one of LASO's executive members who is a junior education major.

TC: My name is Taina Compagnet and I am the secretary of LASO.
CM: As the secretary of LASO, she works with the other executive members of the group to come up with plans and activities that will reflect the goals of the organization.
TC: Our goals are to encourage unity through common bonds, serve as a voice and support the needs for Latino students, and educate others.
CM: LASO was founded in 1997 and was originally called the Hispanic Student Organization. In 1999, the name was changed to the Latin American Student Organization as a result of understanding the differences in the terms Hispanic and Latino.
TC: Well, Hispanic is a term the U.S. government made up because you know when like they are trying to categorize people, you know, put people into different boxes, “Ok, where do you fit?” you know. And Hispanic is just the term they came up with but Latino just basically encompasses anyone in Latin America of Spanish decent. It doesn't matter like what race, what color you are now, if you have Spanish decent in you, you're Latino.
CM: LASO members include students of different Latino cultures and various countries.
TC: We have people in LASO that are basically everywhere from Latin America. There's people from Bolivia, Peru, Chile, Puerto Rico, El Salvador, everywhere. Panama and then you know, Mexico.
CM: Compagnet explains her cultural background.
TC: My mom is from Puerto Rico and my dad is from Chile but I was basically raised in the U.S.
CM: Although their members include students of Latino descent it also includes those interested in Latino culture.
TC: We also have a lot of members that aren't even Latino. Like our treasurer, she's from Cambodia. We're just a very mixed group. It's not exclusively for Latinos. We invite anybody who wants to come.
CM: Compagnet explains that several other campuses in the Baltimore area also have Latin student groups.
TC: UMBC has the Hispanic Latino Student Union, the HLSU. John Hopkins has OLE, the Organización Latina Estudiantil.
CM: In addition to those colleges, Goucher College has an organization called HOLA, which stands for Hispanic Organization for Learning and Awareness, and the College of Notre Dame has the Hispanic Society. These groups work together to help each other reach their common goals.
TC: We started a Baltimore area Latino student consortium. So, it's called La Lucha. We just network together and we help each other out with like promotions. We all just participate with each other and come to each other's events and things like that.
CM: LASO has already made plans for one of next year's events.
TC: We're bringing a play here in September, Friday the 26th. It's called “Yo soy Latina” which means “I am Latina ”. And it's actually an off-Broadway play from New York. It takes the aspects of six different Latinas and talks about their experiences. It talks about having pride in your culture, but we think it's not necessarily geared towards Latinas, you know, like anyone can go there and feel good about themselves.
CM: The Latin American Student Organization will continue to strive to reach their goals.
TC: This past year we've definitely been like changing the organization for the better, and like we've definitely been doing a lot more and we're trying to become more active and just become more of a presence here at Towson and I think we're definitely achieving that goal.
CM:

In the fall 2003 semester, Compagnet will serve as the vice president of LASO and their weekly meetings will be held on Wednesdays at 5 pm in Towson University's student union.

This is Crystal Makle reporting for BaltimoreStories.com.

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