By Patrick Lang
MOSAIC’s addition of the new Latino branch gives minority students even more opportunities to share their opinions.
In the fall of 2008, the MOSAIC group was started at Union to meet the individual needs and desires of culturally diverse students on campus.
“We respond to the requests of the students who express a serious need for a new initiative that promotes unity, opportunity and Great Commandment thinking and action on our campus,” said Jacqueline Taylor, assistant dean of students and director of Career Services.
MOSAIC emphasizes the importance of encouraging students to make their opinions known, which led to the development of Latin American Student Opportunities. LASO is the newest branch to be established in MOSIAC due to the efforts of Union students Nadja Barros, sophomore nursing major, and Claudia Velasco, sophomore business and philosophy double major.
Barros and Velasco, along with Dr. Zoila Sanchez, associate professor of nursing and adviser for the Latino members of MOSAIC, had “expressed a need for opportunities focused on mentoring, support, community service and awareness of Latino culture among the Union community,” Taylor said. “MOSAIC was ready and willing to provide such opportunities.”
A desire to find an outlet for their Latino culture was the inspiration for Barros, from Brazil, and Velasco, from Ecuador, to help start a group that was dedicated to not only bring their culture together, but sharing it with other students on campus.
“I always liked the idea of hanging out with (people in) our culture,” Barros said.
“We were hurting for something like this.”
Sanchez said, “LASO, I strongly believe, is guided by God and in line with Union’s ‘Christ-centered Christian worldview’ exemplified by faculty, students, administration and staff. This is what I refer to as the foundation of LASO.”
Sanchez and all the members of LASO are working to help the new branch grow and become involved at Union.
“This is a new entity, (and) as with any new entity it is still in its infancy, and most likely will evolve as new members join,” Sanchez said.
“LASO’s mission is broad: To create a Christ-centered community that will embrace unity, respect diversity, (and) provide mentoring and access to academic resources.”
Sanchez said LASO should be a venue to create cross-cultural interactions among students that foster spiritual growth and service to others.
“I would like to see LASO engage in activities throughout the academic year that would not only assist its members with their overall career development, but also enhance their academic and social involvement at Union and in the local Community,” she said.
LASO held its first event in Brewer Dining Hall, Nov. 11. Students of all ethnicities were invited to eat, socialize and learn more about LASO and the Latino community on campus. More than 50 people attended the kick-off event.
MOSIAC also offers many other opprotunities to be involved, including weekly men’s and women’s Bible study, “Aim for the A’s” study hall, community service at Mission Convalescent Home and international missions support.