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Student club celebrates Haitian culture with FIU community

Third from top row, president Gabrielle Barlatier and members of HSO at the Dekole dance workshop


Bringing the creole flavor to campus, the Haitian Student organization (HSO) is exposing the FIU community to the food, language, dance and history of Haiti.

HSO started out as a small Caribbean student group in 1990, and has since grown to be one of the larger and more active organizations on campus with 400 members. The organization’s goal is to educate others about the history, tradition and present day progress of Haiti, and matters pertaining to the Haitian diaspora.

Sophomore Gabrielle Barlatier, president of HSO, is making sure students are involved with celebrating Haitian culture through a variety of programming and service opportunities, while also offering networking experiences.

“We don’t put a strict guideline on who our members are,” Barlatier says. “You don’t have to be Haitian­­­ − come, learn and enjoy the culture with us.”

Events are set up to cater to the different interests of the group’s members, bridging the gap between the first generation Haitian American students at FIU and the native Haitian community.

“Sometimes in our culture things get lost and it’s no longer authentic,” she says. “It’s important for our members to know where they come from and learn how they can contribute through HSO.”

Sherley Joseph, sophomore and parliamentarian for HSO, adds: “There are things we want to push forward to show our members that we have something to be proud of. It’s found in our culture.”

Once a month, members gather in the Graham Center Pit to enjoy the flavorful moves of Kompa, the number one Haitian pop-style music that has its own sensual dance. HSO is also known for hosting well-attended Kompa nights, not only to have fun, but to raise money for the organization and connect members through social gatherings.

As executive board members, Barlatier and Joseph believe that it is important for the…

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