As the month celebrating Hispanic heritage draws to a close, the Hispanic Student Cultural Society wanted to do something to grab the attention of students and stand out among a crowd of student organizations.

The HSCS took things to a new level Wednesday afternoon with a festive display of music, dancing and Hispanic culture pride.

Markita Lewis, nutritional science senior, said because Hispanics are a minority at the University, the students and their culture can often be overlooked. Lewis said the event was designed to be fun and festive and to show that all students are welcome to partake in the diversity of cultures.

“This is the big event we have to showcase Hispanic heritage,” Lewis said. “That’s why we have salsa lessons and a DJ here playing authentic Latin-American music.”

Part of the HSCS’s mission is to reach out and educate people on what it means to be Hispanic, and to invite people to find out where their roots are, Lewis said.

Max Wheelock, industrial engineering junior, said he didn’t get in touch with his Hispanic roots until he came to the University and got involved with the HSCS.

Wheelock said even though his father is Nicaraguan, many people assume he is Anglo. Since joining the HSCS in his freshman year and embracing Hispanic culture, he said he has grown to see himself as both. The color of skin is not a factor in determining who he is, he said.

During his freshman year, Wheelock said the HSCS almost folded from a lack of student involvement. Since then, the group has built a solid foundation, but there is still a need for more members.

“There has got to be more people like me out there who have Hispanic roots,” Wheelock said. “We need to find them because I think they would be as happy as I am if they were to get involved.”

While a fun showcase with music and dancing helps students get involved, Lewis said the most important thing the HSCS can do is provide support for Hispanic students.

“HSCS is actually the only sector of LSU that really does programming and events for Hispanic students here on campus,” Lewis said. “We’re the only organization on campus that connects Hispanic students with resources to help them in the community.”

Lewis believes the atmosphere of support they have worked to create is what makes the HSCS special. As the society grows, she said they hope to maintain that feeling.

“We try to provide a family environment for anyone that will come,” Wheelock said. “Wherever you are from, it is nice to have a place and friends that you can share your experiences with, and that is what we have in

the HSCS.”

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