SALSA Offers Support, Activities and Learning Opportunities
November 5, 2009 · Print This Article
By Lindsay Kuntzman
Kent State’s commitment to inclusion and diversity can be seen in the university’s student organizations. With groups such as Black United Students, the Catholic Student Association or the Kent Indian Students Association, there is something for everyone to join.
For Hispanic students on campus, the Spanish and Latino Student Association, commonly referred to as SALSA, provides support, activities and learning opportunities.
Dr. Geraldine Hayes-Nelson, associate dean of undergraduate studies and SALSA co-advisor, says the organization offers a place of unity for Hispanic students on campus and an opportunity for individuals interested in supporting, promoting awareness and experiencing the Latino and Hispanic culture.
“The Latino culture incorporates various groups with Latin American roots that are unique in their own way,” Hayes-Nelson says. “SALSA allows Hispanic Kent State students to come together and celebrate their own uniqueness and educate the rest of the campus community.”
Jeannette Reyes, sophomore broadcast journalism major and SALSA president, says she became a leader in the student organization so she could help encourage Hispanics to attend a great university and give them a sense of community.
“College students, no matter what nationality or race, can get a little homesick,” Reyes says. “It can feel worse when you’re far away and there are few people like you around. SALSA makes sure Hispanic students don’t go through the college experience alone.”
To develop a sense of community, SALSA offers activities and events like salsa dancing, study tables where students can study together and converse in Spanish and Spanish Night which offers Spanish food.
One recent event, the Black and Brown Dialogue, held in October, focused on issues experienced by both Latinos and African Americans. Sponsored by SALSA and Black United Students, the event allowed student and community leaders to discuss topics relating to minority resources, poverty and education.
Vania Alvarez-Minah, enrollment manager and student services advisor for Kent State University at Geauga Campus’ Twinsburg Center, serves as SALSA co-advisor as part of a practicum in Higher Education and Student Personnel. She says the Black and Brown Dialogue was an opportunity for the campus community to discuss particular topics and develop an understanding of the issues facing minority groups.
“While SALSA is a way for its members to have an official presence on campus, the organization also allows other individuals to develop an understanding about a different culture,” Alvarez-Minah says. “SALSA is here for anyone who might have questions or need support.”
SALSA’s activities and events are always open to non-Hispanic students interested in furthering their knowledge about a different culture.
“I think SALSA especially benefits the student body because, if someone is not from a diverse area, there can be an unintentional ignorance,” Reyes says.
Hispanic or non-Hispanic students interested in participating in SALSA may contact Alyssa Hall, SALSA recruitment officer, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information about student groups and organizations at Kent State, visit http://www.kent.edu/studentlife/activities/index.cfm.