Hispanic American Leadership Organization expects continued growth in the future

Tatiana Briceño and Melitza Ramirez stand united with fellow students from HALO and the League of United Latino American Citizens during 2018's KSUnite. (Rowan Jones | Collegian Media Group)

The Hispanic American Leadership Organization (HALO) is the largest Hispanic organization on campus and is continuing to grow at Kansas State University.

HALO promotes the Latino culture as well as strong academic Hispanic students while engaging the local and K-State Hispanic communities.

Two years ago, there were only two Greek organizations affiliated with HALO, said Francisco Cardoza, community service chair and junior in management information systems. Now, there are four major Greek Organizations involved in HALO: Sigma Lambda Beta, Sigma Lambda Gamma, Kappa Delta Chi and Omega Delta Phi.

Cardoza believes the real growth is yet to come.

“Everyone has a different story, but at the same time share something in common,” Cardoza said. “HALO should be a place to bring both. The real growth will be in partnering with other multicultural organizations to support and learn from one another.”

Increases in Hispanic enrollment at K-State may have had an impact on HALO’s growth, said Tatiana Briceño, HALO treasurer and sophomore in secondary education.

“As HALO members we’ve tried to impact [Hispanic] high school students, therefore, we hope they come to KSU so we can help them in any way possible,” Briceño said.

HALO is meant to be a place where Hispanic and Latino students can feel at home, Cardoza said.

“Being here at K-State, I don’t have many opportunities to talk Spanish or hear Spanish music with others that grew up or currently listen to it,” Cardoza said. “Spanish music reminds me of my home in [Kansas City] and how my family would always play it for parties and just while cleaning. HALO is my home away from home.”

Jaden Castinado, HALO secretary and sophomore in food science technology and global food systems, said HALO is a place where he was able to reconnect with his roots.

“My dad is Latino and my mom is white so I’m 50 percent Latino, so it was really unique for me to channel back into that part of my culture that I haven’t had a lot of exposure to,” Castinado said. “For a lot of people, it’s second nature. For me it’s being re-immersed back into it and just becoming more incorporated to it on a personal level.”

He went on to say it is a safe place for Latino students to build community and have somewhere comfortable to talk.

During HALO meetings, the group discusses topics and problems that are related to the Hispanic community and how to solve those problems surrounding K-State and the community.

HALO hosts events such as the Belleza Latina Pageant. During Hispanic Heritage month they host guest speakers and activities and Hispanic food is given out.

HALO meets every other Tuesday at 6 p.m. in the Leadership Building. For more information visit https://kstatehalo.wixsite.com/kstatehalo/about.