The Association of Latinx American Students (ALAS)  at Illinois State University provides programs and activities that foster a better understanding and appreciation for the cultural diversity of the Latinx community.

ALAS President Mario Romero works with an executive board of peers to operate the RSO. The board worked with Romero to describe the registered student organization’s (RSO) main functions and approved Romero as a spokesperson.

“We also promote cultural awareness and student leadership on campus and throughout the community,” Romero said. 

According to Romero, the RSO continues to stay active despite the pandemic by following all CDC and University guidelines. 

“We try to adapt to the needs of our members. We have held our programs in a hybrid manner, utilizing Zoom, and integrating grab and go’s for those students on campus,” Romero said.

Romero believes members make valuable connections during Zoom meetings and events.

“With our events now being on Zoom, we try to get to know our members more personally and are transparent with our members,” Romero said. 

“This relationship is built with the inclusion of creative ice breakers during our events. This space allows our members and us to have a more interactive relationship and engagement with one another.”

Romero said the RSO prides itself on becoming a home away from home for students. 

“Our organization has helped develop members positively by providing a space where they can be their unapologetic selves,” Romero said. 

Romero also said all students are welcome at ALAS meetings and events.

“Students should join ALAS because we create a welcoming environment and a chance to gain student leadership experience,” Romero said.

ALAS is a part of the Multicultural Center, which advocates for antiracism, diversity and inclusion, and the needs of the Latinx community. 

“We also do community service around the Bloomington/Normal area, and we bridge communities by collaborating with other registered student organizations,” Romero said. 

Romero said ALAS holds an annual Sonido event that celebrates and acknowledges diverse and rich cultures in Latin America.

Additionally, he said the discussions that board members have with general assembly members allows student leaders to “create authentic bonds and friendships.”

“ALAS tackles the topics and issues found in the Latinx community and dismantles them so we understand and learn the steps to overcome these obstacles,” Romero said. 

ALAS holds biweekly events every Thursday from 7 to 9 p.m. There are no requirements to join.