Organization Spotlight: Hispanic Student Association


Jonathan Espinoza

Hispanic Student Association President and Vice President Gabriela Orona and Kathy Saenz

Jonathan Espinoza, Co-Editor

West Texas A&M University has a multitude of diverse student organizations, and The Prairie has only just begun scratching the surface of what campus has to offer.  This week, we are spotlighting the Hispanic Student Association (HSA).  Gabriela Orona, president of HSA and senior business marketing major, and Kathya Saenz, vice president of HSA and junior mechanical engineering major, sat down for a Q&A and offered some insight into HSA and their motivations that guide them personally and in their leadership roles within the organization.

The Prairie: What has been the most interesting thing that has happened to you while a member of the Hispanic Student Association?

SAENZ: I’ve grown a lot and have learned to be a leader.  I’ve learned to be a good Samaritan and to put others before myself.  That has even become our motto: Others before ourselves.

ORONA: I think the most interesting thing that has happened to me while being a part of HSA has been meeting all the new people that come to WT.  I learn where they come from, their life; just everything about them and getting to know them as a person and using those lessons to become a better leader.

What motivates you to make the Hispanic Student Association succeed?

SAENZ: Our background.  Us being Hispanics, Latinos, has inspired us to grow from the ground up and to never settle.  There is always somewhere up where you can go.

ORONA: What motivates me to make HSA successful, than from what it already is, is the impact I’m able to make.  I’m able to see the impact I’ve made on members and the community that we serve.

What is something that most people do not know about the Hispanic Student Association?

SEANZ: That we aren’t just Mexican.  We have people from all around the world that are a part of HSA.  We have members that are African American, from El Salvador; we all don’t speak Spanish.  We are a multi-cultural organization.

ORONA: One think I think people don’t’ realize is the community service that we actually do and all of our heart that goes into this projects.  I don’t think people see that because I think when people see HSA they see it as just another organization.  We are more than an organization; we consider each other family.  We all might have different backgrounds, we might come from a different country, but in the end it’s family values that we have grown from.

Who has been your most influential mentor up to this point in your life?

SAENZ: I’m going to be super cliché and say my parents.  They have taught me how to read and write, how to walk and just be who I am today.  They were the first people I saw as leaders and as people who I could look up to.  They gave up a lot for me to actually be here at WT and for me to continue my education.  My parents have been my rock since the beginning.  If it weren’t for them I don’t think I would now be the vice president of HSA.

ORONA: I’m going to agree: my parents.  I’ve literally known them since the day I was born.  They are familiar with what I was going through.  I was in an environment where I didn’t know anyone and had no experience which was almost like their time coming to America.  They didn’t know anyone and didn’t know what to expect.  They knew they were going to be put in awkward positions and had to learn from it. They taught me that it’s basically never bad to be in an awkward position; it’s what you can learn from it and how you can better yourself as you get older and spread that knowledge to people you come across in life.

What are the 3 songs that appear at the top of your most recently-played list?

ORONA:        Real and True – Future and Miley Cyrus ft. Mr. Hudson

Oui – Jeremih

(unnamed track) – Digable Planets

SAENZ:          Juju on the Beat – Zayion McCall

Willy Wonka – Russ

Solo Yo – Sofia Reyes ft. Prince Royce

Right now, in this moment, what is worrying you the most?

SAENZ: A test on Thursday!

ORONA: Graduating and knowing whether or not I had an impact on someone’s life.

What kind of lasting legacy would you like to leave when your time is done with Hispanic Student Association?

ORONA: I would just want people to know that I truly cared about this organization.  I want people to see me and see that I loved HSA.

SAENZ: It’s the long lasting legacy of HSA: Others before ourselves.  If you have the ability to give, not just money or material things, but time, always try to give that to people because there are a lot of people in need.

What are some big things that can be expected from the Hispanic Student Association?

SAENZ: We are actually working on our yearly project called One Toy, One Dream.  We collect toys all throughout the fall semester.  We have different fundraisers all across Canyon: Zumba-Thons, a dance and different fundraisers all around.  Last year we collected over 1,700 toys so this year we are trying to collect at least 2,000.  We are expecting big things for One Toy, One Dream and HSA!  All the toys we collect are going to be given to less fortunate children down in Mexico.  We go to children’s hospitals, we go to orphanages and low income neighborhoods and distribute those toys throughout December.

Fill in the blank: The Hispanic Student Association is _________?

SAENZ: A family.

ORONA: If I had to describe HSA using one word it would be ‘everything’.  HSA is everything.