L.A.X. strives to meet the need for representation of Latin American culture on campus

Kevin Leon

keleon@ursinus.edu

L.A.X. is taking campus by storm, and we don’t mean the lacrosse team.

A new affinity club for Latinx students was launched last April and this fall, it’s really been making an impression on campus. The club partnered with A.L.M.A., the campus’ other Latin American students group, to host a Hispanic Heritage Month Night and its instagram account, Ursinus College L.A.X., posted photos and short bios of notable Latin Americans to celebrate the month.

Stephanie Guzman, now a senior, founded the new organization focused on promoting latin american culture, L.A.X. It is not an acronym. Instead, it’s just the ‘L,’ the ‘A,’ and the ‘X’ from the word ‘latinx’.

“It was hard to come up with a name that identified everybody as a group. I didn’t want it to exclude anyone ’cause everyone should be a part of it,” Guzman said. “Thinking of the inclusive term, I decided to just take the letters.”

Stephanie understands that “lax” often refers to lacrosse, which is why she decided to stylize the name with periods. The periods will hopefully clarify it is the organization and not the sport.

Before L.A.X., Ursinus already had a cultural organization that revolved around the latino identity. The Association of Latinos Motivated to Succeed, or ALMA, served that purpose in the past, but L.A.X. was created because of a perceived need for more exposure and representation of latin american culture on campus.

To Guzman, the president of L.A.X., it felt like the task was too much for just one organization.

“Since ALMA wasn’t really out there, I felt like this organization was necessary. I also felt this group could bridge SUN and ALMA since there are people who might have trouble identifying directly with one or the other,” Stephanie explained. SUN, or Sankofa Umoja Nia, is the black student union on campus.

The message behind L.A.X. resonated with junior Tori Williams. She joined the organization as the vice president. “I joined because I appreciate what L.A.X. represents and stands for. Also, as someone who’s a part of that community, I want that representation out there and want more people to understand what being latinx means,” Williams said.

Other board members of the organization include Juju Bonilla 19’ as the treasurer, Chris Moreno 22’ as the secretary, Amanda Turcios 20’ as the promoter, and Wilmer Aleman 22’ as the event coordinator.

In September, L.A.X. collaborated with ALMA to host a night of food, music, and dancing to celebrate Latin American Heritage Month. Guzman explained, “It came out better than I expected it to. A lot of people showed up and the people on my board really helped me out when I needed them.”

November will be a busy month for L.A.X. On November 8th, they will collaborate on a textbook drive with S.U.C.C.E.S.S., a group intended, but not limited, to helping students of color by preparing them for their post-undergrad future. The goal of the event is to collect textbooks that can be given to underprivileged students who need them.

Then, on November 9th, L.A.X. will host a poster gallery walk to educate people on which issues Latin Americans are currently facing. “I think this even is important because it will educate people on a community that’s going through changes,” Amanda said.

There is currently no L.A.X webpage on the Ursinus website because L.A.X. is not officially an organization yet. “I’m waiting for student government to email me back on what the next steps of the process are. They said they’ll get back to me, but currently I’m still waiting,” Guzman said.

Guzman will graduate in May. With her first, and last, full year as president, her goals for goals for L.A.X. are for it to gain full organization status, for it to gain the same recognition that other, more established, organizations have, and to continue educating those about the latinx community.