The Latin American Student Organization (LASO) seeks to provide cultural and social support to Latine-identifying students. We do this through weekly meetings, socials, and other community-building events. Although LASO mainly focuses on the Latine audience at Carleton, we host events involving all of campus as well as the Northfield community. Some of our past events that were open to all of campus included Open Casa, a catered dinner social at La Casa del Sol; Dia De Los Muertos, a Great Hall and Chapel celebration of the lives we’ve lost; Vive, a karaoke night at The Cave and many more. Additionally, we have run and aided fundraising events for social causes that affect Latine students at Carleton and in our broader community. One example of those was a fundraiser dedicated to Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (DACA) students for fees and renewals after the last government administration added significant barriers for undocumented people and their families. The LASO board seeks the help of its community to continue such efforts for future Latine Carls to come.
We are affected by similar issues faced by other cultural organizations on campus. As such, we applaud the Carleton Students Association for their efforts in alleviating the burden that bureaucracy places on achieving our goal of supporting our respective memberships. Initiatives such as the Cultural Organization Fund have allowed us to spend more time planning meaningful events for our students, and less time on the minuscule but significant logistical details of implementation. We also appreciate the efforts of the Office of Intercultural Life (OIL) in creating the Cultural Programming Board. That being said, as an organization we find that Carleton administration’s support of international and undocumented Latine students needs improvement.
The lack of financial aid and other economic support available to them is an issue that affects all international students at Carleton. While this has already been a heavily discussed issue within the international student community, the problem intensifies for students from Latin America. Latin America is one of the fastest growing regions from which students are admitted into the United States, yet this is clearly underrepresented at Carleton. Peer institutions, such as Amherst College and St. Olaf College, have a higher population of international Hispanic and Latine students. In the past three years, Mexico has been among the top countries represented in St. Olaf’s incoming class. The problem here is mostly financial. It is nearly impossible to recruit from a region where the cost of living differs so much, without offering financial support. As such, international Latine applicants have a much more difficult time making it to Carleton than other populations.
The lack of support is another issue concerning students we seek to represent is the lack of support for undocumented or DACA students at Carleton. The college in the past year lost the OIL/ISL (then OIIL) staff contact for undocumented students. The alternatives in the Dean of Students office are frequently inundated with concerns from other students, leaving them with minimal availability for treating the uncertainty that comes with being an undocumented student. Also worth mentioning is the outdated state of the DACA resources page on the Carleton website. We implore the community to read about ways higher education institutions can help undocumented/DACA students.
As a cultural organization, we recognize the importance of working with other clubs on campus on social activities such as our upcoming people of color (POC) collaboration event on Monday, October 4, as well as mutual aid, and implore you to follow and support the mission of Carleton Mutual Aid (@carletonmutualaid on Instagram). If you would like to follow our future efforts, feel free to follow us on Instagram (@carletonlaso), and join our mailing list by scanning the QR code below.
— LASO BOARD
Ale Cota, Jocelyn Franco,
Sandy Ramirez, Mel Vazquez & Aldo Polanco