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A spirit that is not afraid

Latinx Student Alliance seeks to build community among Latinx student body

<p>The Cross Cultural Center for Excellence in the Harold D. Melton Student Center on March 4, 2021, in Auburn, Ala.</p>

The Cross Cultural Center for Excellence in the Harold D. Melton Student Center on March 4, 2021, in Auburn, Ala.

The Latinx Student Alliance opened its doors this semester to build a community and support network for Latinx students at Auburn.

The LSA’s mission is to “celebrate our unique cultures and experiences, and to highlight collective problems, to support one another and combat discrimination.” However, the club is open to anyone interested in being a community member.

"We want to push for inclusivity in our club and to try to include everyone. [The LSA wants] to make sure no other demographic on campus feel isolated from the group," said sophomore in history and LSA President Dioselin Cruz.

Dioselin Cruz, a Latinx Student Alliance representative. September 1, 2022.

Getting involved is as easy as joining the Auburn LSA GroupMe or stopping by the Auburn Cross-Cultural Center for Excellence on the second floor of the Melton Student Center.

The LSA offers a response to one of the issues that Latinx students face in a predominantly white institute. It lays the foundation for a Latinx student community to build in an environment where its members can feel lost in the margins.

“There might not be a place where you can go to interact with other people who have a similar ancestry, which is a big reason why I’m starting this club,” Cruz said.

Additionally, Latinx students may not always arrive on campus with the same academic capital as other students. To help, the LSA serves as a pool of collegiate knowledge to fill any gaps its members can have while in school.

“Not all, but many of our members are first-generation college students," Cruz said, "So we may not have as many generational resources to give us insight into what college life is and how to succeed.”

This month, the LSA is planning an event at The Edge dining facility that will be open to anyone who wants to attend. There will be Latinx food, salsa dancing with an instructor and trivia centered on the Latinx community.

The event celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month, a federally recognized period that starts on Sept. 15 to celebrate Hispanic Americans' achievements, culture and independence. However, "Hispanic" does not adequately describe the honored communities.

The term Hispanic hit the American lexicon in the 1970 U.S. census, before which Mexican was the only available option for Hispanic and Latinx people. Derived from the Spanish term Hispano, used to describe Spanish settlers in the American southwest, Hispanic as a description excludes communities in Central and South America that do not have historical ties to Spain.

As Hispanic and Latinx Heritage Month approach, Cruz asks the Auburn community to avoid stereotyping and generalizations.

"Be cognizant of not only Latinx identity but also the diversity within the Latinx community. A lot of times, people see Latinx people as a monolith, and not as a diverse group of people from different countries and different experiences, Cruz said.

According to data collected by the Office of Institutional Research, "Hispanic of any race" make up 3.8% of the total population as of fall 2021. That’s less than 1,300 spread across a historic enrollment of 31,526 people, 150 undergraduate majors and 12 colleges and schools. 

The LSA provides the dispersed Latinx family members a safe space to centralize and recognize their shared identity and support each other. However, it’s also where people from outside the community can go to learn more about their fellow Tigers.

“We want to make sure everyone is included in Auburn and feels like they are a part of the community," Cruz said.

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Ethan Flynn | Campus News Editor

Ethan Flynn, sophomore in journalism and finance, is the campus editor at The Auburn Plainsman. He has been with The Plainsman since Fall, 2022.

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