Global Education

Latino Student Union brings culture to South

By Daniel Fuchs
Published: December 2010

Throughout Newton South’s history, student unions such as the Jewish Student Union, the Asian Student Organization, Gay/Straight Alliance, and Black Student Union, have spread cultural awareness, organizing events and activities to not only connect members of their own communities but to inform other students about their interesting cultures and lifestyles.
The Latino Student Union (LSU), which began last year, now joins this group.
Much like other student unions and cultural groups, the LSU plans to organize events both inside and outside South.
“We are going to do a lot of community service events in Boston, senior Ismael Algerin, who organized the club along with two other students, said.
One such plan includes working with a church in Boston to which one of the members of the group has a connection.
Though it is a Latino group, anyone and everyone is encouraged to participate in any way they can. “The club is open to everybody, Algerin said. “Anyone can contribute.  
In terms of other future plans, the Union has a variety of possibilities and ideas in the making. “We would love to organize a Talent Night, said Algerin. “It would be similar to the Asian Night that the ASO organizes.
The Latino Student Union technically began two years ago, as the Latino Club. “We went to a few exhibits at museums, Latino Club advisor Viviana Planine said. “But as the founders went off to college, there was a slight loss in interest.
The following year, Algerin and two other students approached Planine and math teacher Javier Mendez about creating the student union. “I have offered my room as a space for Latino students to meet, plan cultural activities, socialize, interact, and get to know each other, Mendez said.
This center for Latino culture was one of the main reasons that the club was created. “We realized that we wanted a safe haven for people of a different culture, Algerin said.
Latino culture is becoming increasingly influential in American culture and life, and the Latino Student Union seeks to address this. “I really think that the language [Spanish] is not felt as much as it should be, Planine said. “Spanish is a new second language in this country.
That influence can be seen in everything from music and literature to typical encounters throughout Newton. “I see people in places like Whole Foods and I have conversations in Spanish with them, Planine said.
The founders and advisors of the club hope that the LSU can build a strong Latino presence in the school and inform many students about the culture.
“We want to make people more aware of how diverse the culture is, Algerian said. “We want to have events that are not only interesting but symbolize important parts of our culture.
Most of all, the Latino Student Union hopes to emphasize their pride in their culture. “The language is not just something in the classroom, Planine said. “It is alive, it is life.

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