Celebrating Heritage

AMAS offers students a place of expression and cultural pride

By Christian Hunick
On March 29, 2018

Contributed Photo

 

The Association of Mexican American Students, or AMAS, is a student organization whose mission includes engaging students in the study and appreciation of Mexican-American culture, helping new students of Hispanic origin adapt to college life and serving the Mexican-American community of San Angelo.

“Angelo State is a Hispanic-serving institute, so our goal is to get the culture out and have people on and off campus understand a little bit about our culture,” AMAS President Amber Reyes Valdez said. “We want people to know who we are, what we are about and where we come from so they can understand our background rather than making their own assumptions.”

A group focused on the awareness of Mexican-American culture and the unity of Mexican-American students has been on campus since the 1970’s; however, the organization was known by a different name for most of its existence.

“When [the organization] first started, it was MASA instead of AMAS, but they changed it around five to ten years ago,” Valdez said.

MASA was founded by the now retired history professor and author Dr. Arnoldo De León. Much of De León’s work focuses on Mexican-American history, such as his first book They Called Them Greasers, which is a classic in Tejano history.

Valdez said the organization has grown drastically in size since its creation.

“When they first started out there were only 3-5 people in the organization. Our size now ranges, but we usually have around 50 people.”

AMAS is active in many campus events. Last fall, AMAS participated in the homecoming sign contest and parade, with their float winning third place in the float decoration contest. They also had a booth at Fall Fest where they gave out traditional Mexican snacks.

Valdez explained that AMAS also organizes their own events.

“We have a banquet and a formal, and for the spring semester we have an alumni game where we get with our previous AMAS graduates and play our annual softball game. We also host our own family day like ASU’s family day where they allow students to bring their family and tour campus, but it is just for AMAS. Then we also have an event for Day of the Dead.”

AMAS serves the Hispanic community of San Angelo through their program called Immigration Integration.

“We have a program every Tuesday called Immigration Integration where we teach English to some of the immigrants here around the community,” Valdez said.

AMAS also serves the senior population of the community by volunteering with Helping Hands and Texas Ramps.

General meetings for AMAS take place at 7:30 p.m. every Wednesday, and anyone who would like to join is welcome to attend.

 

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