One thing you frequently hear around campus is how many events are going on and how successful they are. Rarely do you ever hear that any event was a total flop. Even if the event did not go exactly as planned, we students do a pretty good job of adapting on the fly to make sure we deal with any unforeseen changes. This is simply due to the fact that we’re all dedicated to the clubs and organizations we join, and seeing an event fall into pieces hurts us personally.
I am currently Co-President of the Latino/Latina Student Organization (LSO) here at K. In recent years, the Latino student population has seen a sudden increase, and because of this there have been many changes to the LSO to meet the needs of the Latino students here on campus. We’ve gone from a club that meets to relax and de-stress by sitting and talking in Spanish in a family-like setting to an organization that has a set agenda for topics that need to be covered for the week (event planning, assigning tasks, meeting with community members, etc.). No one way is better than another, but with a changing population, our needs are changing as well. This year, we have instilled a new cabinet system, created a more powerful mission statement, and are currently in the process of developing a proper constitution. Through these changes, we have become a strong family and are beginning to see ourselves in a professional light.
With all these changes going on, we were still hungry for more. Something that would be very meaningful to us all, and that would give meaning to what we’ve been working at. After the La Fiesta Desi Soul event held during the winter quarter this year, my Co-President and I decided that a good way to fulfill this hunger was to take some members to a conference that would be educational and conducive to personal growth. We decided on the annual conference Student Conference on Latino Affairs (SCOLA), held at Texas A&M University this year. Letting our club members know what we were planning brought joy and excitement. The LSO had never done something like this and did not know what to expect, but we all were definitely happy to have the opportunity.
We got straight to budgeting, planning, and finding the resources for the conference. Deciding how many members could go, collaborating with another student organization, and submitting grant proposals. The task to get everything rolling was stressful, especially with logistics (Kalamazoo being 20.5 hours away from College Station, Texas). We had almost everything set up, and we were just about ready to register a couple of days before the deadline (April 1st), but we were still waiting on a grant. We decided to call to see if we could get an extension, and as it turned out, we were about a month late. Registration didn’t close until April 1st, but they had reached the fire code capacity at the beginning of March. All our hard work ended up with nothing to show for it.
While we’re disappointed it turned out this way, we took a big step in trying out something that our organization never had attempted. Now we know what to expect, and how to go about all our tasks for a conferences like this with a strict time line. So although the end result was difficult to swallow, our dream to go isn’t dead yet.