Just a number of weeks ago, Latin American Student Organization (LASO) made history on campus. They brought the very first Dominican bachata band to Colgate University.
Bachata is a traditional music genre from the Dominican Republic. This type of music is emerging for many young Dominican-American, and it’s shaping their identity. Bachata Heaightz from New York City merges this traditional music with pop beats and spanglish lyrics. It is highly regarded within Latin America and latino communities in the United States.
Many OUS scholars are involved in LASO, including the president Manny Medina’ 17 and vice president Cynthia Vele’ 17, and as a group, they showed much pride in sponsoring this event. I interviewed Haley Moya’ 17, the internal communicator of LASO, to get her input on this event and LASO.
The LASO core posing with Bachata Heightz. (Left to right: Savannah Soto’ 18, Jovan Diaz’ 18, Manny Medina’ 17. Abel de Leon Sanchez’ 18, and Cynthia Vele’ 17)
Could you describe your position for me?
I am basically the secretary of LASO. I send out emails, take notes at meetings, and am in charge of keeping communication flowing.
LASO has seven core positions in total. Throughout the year, eight people split these roles and positions to facilitate running meetings and planning events. As such, Haley plays a big part in keeping everyone on the same page.
So, how exactly did you contribute to the organization of this event on campus?
I held a big role in marketing the event. We, as in the core, reached out to many student groups, organizations, professors, and students. Through out this process I kept everyone in the core up to date, including informing everyone on when the band arrived and at what exact time the concert started.
Planning Bachata Heightz was a big task. The core had to plan out budgeting, ask for support from departments, pick a location to set up, market the event thoroughly, and negotiate with the band on details like the date of performance.
What did you do when the band arrived on campus?
In addition to welcoming them to campus, I also offered help with setting up the stage, but they pretty much had everything figured out. They needed to get ready before the concert, so I guided them at La Casa.
La Casa is the 1934 house, located on 49 Broad St., that previously was a fraternity. It is now adopted as the official La Casa interest house on campus. The members living here try to fully embrace latino culture by decorating the inside with flags, playing Spanish music at every social event, and hosting events relating to Latino identity.
Anything significant you want to say about the experience?
I think a lot of people who didn’t know about Latino culture or LASO itself got to see a different side. It was a lot of fun, and I think a lot of people who typically would not come to these events ended up coming. It was a great turn out. I am really happy LASO got more recognition through this event.
Like at many predominantly white institutions, it is often times a struggle to represent Latino identity and culture. LASO and OUS scholars like Haley Moya’ 17 try their best to overcome this obstacle. Bringing bands like Bachata Heightz may seem like a small success in the short run, but in the long run, it has astounding affects on the current students struggling to hold onto their roots.