Matthew J. Walker
The Puyallup campus is home to a number of clubs, including the identity-based Latino Student Union. The club has grown over the year. According to LSU President Naomi Vasquez, the club only had a few members before and now has almost 30.
“When I first joined there was only a handful of us, and it was only a handful of us for like, two quarters,” Vasquez said.
“I wanted to expand the club, and bring a place for students of Latino descent—or even if you’re not Latino, to be a part of something that can help the entire student body, and bring us all together.”
She explained the goal of the LSU is to show students they can be more than just part of a student body and that members should serve as a welcoming club for new students.
“I just want to get out that we can be more than just part of a student body,” Vasquez said. “I want it to be kind of a welcoming (club), where you can come meet new people, make new connections from different ethnicities.
It’s not just Latinos even though the majority of us are Latino; I want it to be a place where people can come and learn about different things.”
Another member of the LSU, Karla Gomez, joined the club for many reasons and thinks the club is a great representation of her culture.
“I’m part Latino, and I felt like it’s a great representation of my culture and how I grew up,” Gomez said. “I grew up in a Hispanic household, and growing up I always had the culture, but I never really expanded to other people around me being Hispanic. So it’s a nice, welcoming community to experience.”
Gomez explained that she wants everyone to feel welcome among the LSU. She wants the message the club sends out to be one that encourages everyone to experience the Latino culture.
“I (want the LSU) to be a nice, welcoming environment for all different types of people trying to experience the culture—and if you are part of any type of Hispanic heritage— to feel welcome, and learn new things.”
Gomez is a member of seven clubs on the Pierce College Puyallup campus. This list includes the LSU, Tabletop gaming Club and the Gaming Unity Club; the latter of which she is the vice president of. Gomez said she likes to be active on campus and make a difference, which is what motivated her to join so many clubs. “I like being active (on-campus) and I like making a difference in people’s lives,” Gomez said. “Meeting people is a fun thing to do, making new friends and just creating that nice welcoming environment to a wide variety of people.”
Gomez believes all clubs improve the quality of life for students on campus, but that the LSU particularly empowers Latino students. “All clubs create a nice comforting background for everyone,” said Gomez.
“The LSU empowers the people who have the Hispanic background, which maybe didn’t have that growing up.” Both Gomez and Vasquez wanted to emphasize that everyone—whether they have Latino heritage or not—are welcome to join the club.
To them, the club is beneficial for everyone. It provides a community for Latinos, while also providing an opportunity for non-Latinos to experience the culture. For those interested in joining LSU, the club meets every Tuesday from 11-11:50 a.m. Vasquez and Gomez made it clear—that all are welcome and encouraged to join LSU.
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