Leading LASO


National Lantinx/Hispanic Heritage Month is a 30-day period that is dedicated to recognizing the contributions and impact of Hispanic Americans. It is celebrated annually starting on Sept. 15, the anniversary of independence for Latin American countries.

Colgate students, on and off campus, have taken part in celebrating the National Lantinx/Hispanic Heritage Month this year even while under COVID-19 restrictions. 

President of the Latin American Student Organization (LASO), Arturo Max Longoria, explains that even though the pandemic and other obstacles may not allow the organization to meet in person, the members’ dedication and commitment to the community has allowed for compelling Zoom meetings that are dedicated to this heritage month.

“All of our events are now online. We actually just hosted one where another member [of LASO] taught everyone how to make handmade tortillas over Zoom,” Longoria said. 

LASO is hosting another event with keynote speaker Dolares Huerta on Oct. 14, rounding out the last day of National Lantinx/Hispanic Heritage Month.

Huerta is a social justice trailblazer. She is one of the most prominent civil rights activists, an American Labor Leader and the co-founder of United Farm Workers. Huerta advocates for safer working conditions while also fighting for unemployment and healthcare benefits for agricultural workers. After helping pass legislation and earning several awards for her bravery in advocacy, Huerta, now 90 years old, still spreads her message through her influential speeches.

“Huerta is a very important figure in our community,” Longario said, looking forward to the event. 

LASO does not only come together for National Lantinx/Hispanic Heritage Month. Their community ties are strong throughout the year as they seek to create a sense of community for people at Colgate who identify or interest themselves with the Latino Culture, whether by birth, heritage or choice. The organization also works to promote a deeper understanding of and exposure to Latino cultures in and outside of the Colgate community.

Longoria has been involved with LASO since 2018, when he first joined as a first-year.

“It was really tough for me to find a community because I am Hispanic and Latino. [Coming to] Colgate was a culture shock. But, finding LASO and people like me on campus was just like ‘Okay, I need to be there and form a community there,’” Longoria said.

Sophomore year Longoria became more involved in the community as the organization’s Promotional Director. Following this position, Longoria became Vice President of LASO in his junior year and has now earned the role of President. 

As president, one of Longorio’s main goals is to create an alumni network for LASO members. He is also working on other career enhancement and social initiatives for Hispanic and Latino students on campus, while trying to expand LASO’s social platform. 

Longorio reflected on his time with LASO and the connections he has made as he spearheads the organization in his last year at Colgate.

“The most memorable thing [about LASO] for me is all the connections I was able to make, especially students who were grades above me. They really showed that they cared about me, my development and life at Colgate. I still reach out to seniors I became close with my freshmen year and they too check in [with me] to see how I am doing and how the LASO community is doing as a whole,” Longorio said.

Longorio’s passion for LASO is evident in his leadership and involvement in the organization. While members appreciate their president’s guidance, Longario appreciates LASO’s diversity and all the voices that form the Latinx community.

As a senior now, Longorio will be leaving his friends and LASO members as he prepares to start a new chapter of his life. However, the pandemic has proven that even with physical distance, the LASO community will remain intact. 

“I definitely plan to stay in touch with everyone after I graduate. If they need me, I will be there for them because LASO has been there for me,” he said.

To learn more about LASO and their upcoming event with Dolares Huerta, check out @laso_colgate on Instagram.