Missouri Southern’s Spanish club is open to all currently enrolled students. Its purpose is to bring diversity and spread the Hispanic culture to campus.
With no requirements or fees, students have the freedom to participate at any given event without commitment. They offer games, dance parties, various celebration within the club as well as outside the club.
They currently have around 35 members, but the Spanish Club is encouraging more people to join, in order to experience new activities and learn about the Hispanic community.
“The more the better, because that means more students are aware of Spanish culture, and interested in learning, and meeting new people,” said Kimberly Ocampo, Spanish club president.
“It also helps to make friends and build relationships.”
In order to integrate into this community, new members don’t need to be native speakers or know Spanish at all. The club welcomes everyone who is open and interested to learn about the culture and the language.
“We had a lot of Korean [students] as well as Americans that don’t practice Spanish in general,” said Meleny Garcia, senior elementary education major and club member.
Spanish club’s representatives organize meetings where students can practice and have a conversation with other members. as well as help people hang out and play games. To facilitate meetings, in order to be understood by everyone, they speak English.
However, they try to incorporate easy sentences while presenting, so students would get familiar with basics.
“Presidents of the club do a great job, by being very flexible with the schedule, they always ask our opinion and make time to see people just for fun,” said Garcia.
People always have the freedom to choose if they want to come to one meeting or more.
“Nobody is obligated to be a member to attend events,” said Ocampo.
All the money collected during club meetings is usually invested back into members, by purchasing t-shirts or planning fun activities within the club. Once again, it is the students’ prerogative whether or not to donate.
Previously, the club organized various events like dances, where students could enjoy music and food from different Hispanic countries. They also celebrated the Day of the Dead to explain the celebration and spread the culture.
Garcia underlines the benefits that this club brought to her.
“When I came here to Missouri Southern, I didn’t have many friends, and this club helped me to feel like home,” said Garcia.
She points out that this community is more like a family, where members can feel comfortable. It helps to make new friends with similar and diverse backgrounds that can understand you. Everyone is welcoming and open to collaborating.
“Being part of the Spanish club made me feel more comfortable,” said Ocampo. “I have people that became my family and helped with homesickness.”
The club is also collaborative with Crowder College and participate in each other’s events. This has helped them to grow their community not only on campus but Joplin as a whole.
By joining the club, students would acquire various benefits that can help them for the future, like opening their minds, learning how to be social, get basic skills in Spanish as well as being motivated to travel.
For those who are interested, the Spanish club meets at 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 23 in Webster’s tutoring lab. As well as, from 2:00 to 2:30 p.m. on Thurs. Sept.26.