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Bryant Loor
Professor Grant
UWRT 1101
December 2, 2014
LASO Ethnography
I decided to choose LASO as the discourse community for my ethnography. LASO is a
culturally diverse non-profit organization geared towards the Latino culture at UNC Charlotte.
LASO stands for Latin American Student Organization and their primary goal is to promote
educational and cultural exchange in all matters related to Latin America and the Caribbean
among the student body, faculty, and staff of UNCC and in the community, and also help to
enhance the social, cultural, and academic background of Latin-American students and people
while at UNCC (Ramirez). The club meets every Tuesday at 7 PM in the Student Union. LASO
occasionally works in conjunction with other Latin club. For instance, HCAP (Hispanic College
Awareness Program), who primarily work with Hispanic children and their parents to inform
them of everything college has to offer and what they can do now to prepare their child for
college. LASO welcomes people from all parts of the world. The club is mostly composed of
Hispanics, however, there are also many members who are non-Hispanics that want to learn
more about the culture and the people. There are about 30 members in the club, five of which are
the President, Vice-President, Secretary, Treasurer, and Historian.
In the beginning of the school year, a friend told me about this club and I immediately
knew that I wanted to be part of it. I have always enjoyed learning about other Latin cultures and
sharing mine as well. The club is also a way for people to make new friends and create new
connections. LASO has many social activities planned at every meeting. I noticed that at every

meeting, there is always Spanish music playing in the background, ranging from Bachata, Salsa
and Cumbia. Last Tuesday, November 11, I observed an activity where the club was divided into
two teams. Each team was to send one of their teammates out to complete a race blindfolded
with chairs in the way as obstacles. Whichever member accidentally bumped into any of the
chairs would automatically lose and a new member was sent out to race. The game was a way for
people on the same team to work together to achieve the same goal, win. The activity was great;
there was a lot socializing and laughter within both teams. After the race was finished, the
members would move on to the next activity planned, which was to gather up in a large circle
and discuss about things they are grateful for, since Thanksgiving was just around the corner.
Then they were given cards to write a letter to someone they were grateful for. Some of the
discussions became very emotional and deep but everyone there was empathetic.
There were stereotypes I heard around campus of this club solely consisting of Hispanics
and that if you werent Latino/Latina, you wouldnt be treated in a good manner. I found this
stereotype to be extremely inaccurate and absurd. In the club, there are numerous people who are
not Hispanic and get treated like everyone else.
The veterans in the club are the officers because they have been members for the longest
time and are the ones coordinating everything during activities. The newcomers are the people
who recently joined and did not know much about the club; they didnt feel like they belonged in
the club yet. The mushfakers in the club were the members who were shy and didnt try to
socialize with anyone because they were still new. Some of the elements of belonging were
stepping out of your comfort zone and interacting with other members; to be yourself and
friendly with everyone.

The club uses email, Facebook, Twitter, and an official page for their methods of
communication with members. The club posts a sign-in sheet at the beginning of every meeting
to know which members were able to attend. I have received several emails from the club
reminding me of upcoming events and parties; for example, I received an email regarding an
event for Hispanic heritage month that was to take place on September 15 (Delgado). Other
methods of communication within members are through text messaging, for instance, my friend
Jessica texted me the other day to remind me about bringing cupcakes for that same event
I had an interview with the president of the club, Evelyn Cordero, and asked her a few
questions about her involvement with the club and why she decided to join. I asked her how long
she has been a member of the club, Ive been a member of LASO for about two years now, and
I joined my sophomore year. Why did you choose to be a member of LASO? I wanted to join a
club, but I didnt know which one to join. My friend Hector, who was president at the time,
invited me to a meeting, so I decided to attend and I loved it. Does the club have any mottos of
its own? Yes, estamos orgullosos de nuestra cultura, which translates into English as, we are
proud of our culture. Did you ever think you would become president? Honestly, no. I knew I
wanted to be an officer but I never expected myself being president one day (Cordero).
The club members frequently use the Spanish language in their communication, which
will be considered the lexis of the club. People may choose to use Spanish words instead of
English to convey their messages better. For example, I heard a member use the word empanada
in one of their conversations with another member instead of trying to translate it into English.
The members also greeted each other with a kiss on the cheeks and/or when they were about to
say their farewells at the end of meetings. I believe the members do this because it is Hispanic

culture to greet people that way and the club also encourages members to express their own
cultures. There were also members from other countries that share their culture, for instance,
there was a girl from Cote dIvoire that taught us the Zouglou dance from her country.
LASO is very diverse community that has members from all across the globe. I met a foreign
exchange student from England who was studying International Business and joined the club
because he wanted to learn more about the Hispanic culture and increase his networking. The
best part about the club is that everyone interacts with one another and diversity is strongly
The club represents a group of people who are united and strive to have a good time. Its
a place where you can forget about your worries and have fun by socializing with other
members, participating in activities, and learning about other cultures.