Senior Elementary and Special Education Major Juana River finally completed her dream of starting a Hispanic Student Organization (HSO) club at Barton College.
Rivera said she has had the idea of a Hispanic club since freshman year, but there wasn’t enough student interest on campus. Rivera said she held the first interest meeting for the club last year, but that it wasn’t too successful.
Rivera said fellow orientation members Giselle Dominquez, Nahia Nevarro and David Vega pushed her to continue with her idea and told her they would support her plan.
Rivera said the club’s goal is to unite Hispanic students on campus and well as help the community. She wants for the club to put a positive light on the Hispanic community. She encourages everyone to join and it is a way of celebrating Hispanic culture.
Rivera’s biggest wish for the club is to read to ESL students who have difficulty with English and help them because she said she knows what it’s like to not understand English that well, and feel bad about it.
Last month, Rivera said the HSO club had a Day of the Dead celebration on Oct. 30 at 6:30 p.m. in the café.
The club wanted to inform people about the meaning behind Day of the Dead and how its purpose is to honor the life of loved ones who have died.
Members of the club will have a presentation explaining the traditions of that night, such as decorating the cemetery and favorite foods included. The tradition is not to mourn, but instead to celebrate the life of those who have died. There will also be sugar candy skull face paintings involved for those who want to paint their faces.
Rivera said another big focus in the club is also to build group bonding and do more activities together on campus. On Oct. 1, the HSO club had its first group outing event and went to eat ice cream at Cherry-O.
On Nov. 13, the club will have a Spanish movie night at 7 p.m. and Rivera said all are welcome to come. Rivera said that the HSO club is very accepting and welcoming.
Rivera said either next month or in the spring semester, the club plans to have a tamale sale for no more than $2 or $3 as well as an informative Cinco de Mayo session spring semester.
There are 12 members of the HSO club. Rivera is the founder and co-president, Giselle Dominguez is president, Tanya Garcia is vice president, Cristina Villagran is secretary, David Vega is he treasurer, and Lorraine Chon-Qui is SGA Representative.
Other members of the Hispanic Student Organization are Juan Zetina, Nahia Nevarro, Kimberly Olivera, Tara Williams, Crystal Vasquez, Brooke Fernandez, Jeimy Salazar, and Kiara Lewis.
Dr. Luis Ayarza, assistant professor of Spanish, has offered his knowledge and guidance to the club to help make the club successful. He said on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays there is volunteer opportunities at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church for tutoring elementary students. Rivera said Ayarza would like members of the club or the Barton community to volunteer for tutoring.
“This club is very open and welcoming of everyone whether you’re Hispanic or not. It’s a chance to join a new club that is just starting and really making a contribution as well as leaving a mark,” said Rivera.
Senior Health Promotions major Tara Williams reiterated Rivera’s point about not needing to be Hispanic to join the HSO club. Williams, a member of the Hispanic Student Organization club, said she joined because her best friend Kimberly Olivera joined and because many of her good friends speak Spanish. Williams said she likes learning about new cultures and meeting new people, as well as making new friends.
“I like to be culturally diverse,” said Williams.
Williams is interested in learning to speak Spanish and join a new club that is so welcoming.
Williams said, “I’m excited about this club and an opportunity to bring people closer together is a great thing, and should be appreciated.”
By Kimberly Olivera