On Saturday, Oct. 1, the 30th annual LSO Latino Explosion was held in the Ceddia Union Building MPR.
Students of all backgrounds were invited to enjoy Latin American music, food and dance. The event was help by Shippensburg’s Latino Student Organization (LSO) to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month, which goes until Oct. 15.
According to LSO’s secretary Cassidy Vangas, Latino Explosion “gives us an opportunity to express our culture and share it with others. A lot of people come out to embrace it.” The sharing of culture brought out dozens of students and families to celebrate with good food and music. The event’s festivities lasted from 4–6 p.m.
Among the dances performed at the event was the traditional Colombian cumbia dance. Cumbia originated as a mixing of indigenous, African and European cultures on the Caribbean coast of the South American country Colombia. Volunteers from the crowd were invited to come to the front to learn how to perform the dance.
A few students from the crowd chimed in on their thoughts on the importance of cultural diversity and cultural events like Latino Explosion. One student said, “It shows representation of the diversity of Shippensburg culture. Students are making sure that Hispanic Heritage month is celebrated at Shippensburg.”
Pride in their shared ancestry was a topic brought up by students and LSO organizers. Another important thing for Latin-American students is finding a sense of community on the Shippensburg campus.
“When I first came to Shippensburg, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to be here,” Vangas said. “Coming to LSO made me feel a home away from home. LSO made me feel like I wanted to be here.”
Finding a sense of community is important for students on the Shippensburg campus. One commuter student said that Latino Explosion meant feeling more comfortable at school. “(Latino Explosion) brings people together,” she said. “I do plan on joining LSO.”
Shippensburg’s Latino Student Organization is a club run to promote Latin-American inclusivity and culture on campus. According to Vangas, one of the goals of LSO is, “Getting the Hispanic community together and discussing things we go through on campus.” LSO also holds Hispanic summits.
The Latino Explosion is just one example of campus groups getting together to promote diversity and community at Shippensburg University. The Latino Student Organization will hold more events throughout the year to promote and share their culture.