The Latin American Student Organization (LASO), hosted their annual LASO Prom event on Thursday, Sept. 29, which celebrated Latin Pride Month.
The tickets, which were sold at the door, were $2 for Montclair State University students and $4 for non-Montclair State University guests. It was a full house. At least 150 tickets were sold.
The girls came into the Student Center Ballroom in their semi-formal dresses, walking in high heels and flats. The guys entered with confidence, some of them wearing their fancy tuxedos.
Hispanic music like cumbia, bachata, salsa, fast reggaeton and merengue, as well as a bit of EDM was coming through the DJ’s speakers. Dancers were celebrating Latin music. Partygoers felt the excitement.
The interior was decorated as if the partygoers were outside under the bright stars. There were hanging sparkling lights across the large spacious room. In the middle of each table, centerpieces were glowing glitter jars with tiny shiny transparent pebbles.
Food, including empanadas, rice and beans and pork, was catered by El Tropico Restaurant located in Paterson. It was served in the Latin food buffet at 8:30 p.m.
After dinner and some dancing, LASO Prom King and Queen, who were named after constellations, were announced. King Orion was Albert Garcia and Queen Cassiopeia was Jasmine Moreno.
This year’s event was noticeably different compared to past LASO Prom events. LASO Prom has been in November during the last few years; however, the LASO executive board decided to hold LASO Prom in the beginning of the semester because Hispanic Heritage Month (also called Latin Pride Month) is in September. Plus, it was a nice way to open up the semester and invite people to get involved.
LASO Publicity Chair Brian Alvarez, a junior business administration major advertised the event to other LASO organizations in Pennsylvania, New York and New Jersey, such as Luna from Rutgers University.
“Hispanic Heritage Month is a time that I can share and express my culture and everything that I love [about] being Hispanic like food, language, music, dance,” said Gutierrez. “It’s nice to know and educate people that we have such a diverse culture.”
Gutierrez reached out to other LASO organizations, especially this year, because Montclair State University is now a Hispanic-Serving Institution (HSI).
According to the US Department of Education, in order to be qualified as HSI, a college or university needs to have a Hispanic population of 25 percent or more.
Montclair State University has a very large group of Hispanics here on campus: about 25 percent.
Gutierrez also mentioned that part of being Latino/Latina is to have fun at parties with good food and music.
LASO Prom is not only a party, it’s also a fundraiser. The money the LASO executive board collected will be used to get school supplies for kids living in local areas, such as Paterson.
A first time LASO Prom participant, Jonathan Trinidad who is a junior economy major, thought LASO Prom “was well organized. Shout out to the LASO president and her husband, vice president, treasurer and publicity chair.”
“I enjoyed seeing the whole process of seeing it unfold from start to finish. It was hectic, but I’m proud that we worked together as a team to make it all happen. Thank you to the student body for making it such a huge success,” said LASO Treasurer Alexander Alvarez, a Cuban, and finance major.