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Recalling a Decade Of CHispA Growth

As she slowly looked through the organization's brochure, two girls on the other side of the booth glanced at each other.

One of them spoke up. "Can I help you?" she asked. "Would you like to join CHispA?"

The woman looked up and smiled. "Actually, I started this group."

The misty-eyed woman was Catherine Lindsay, CHispA's founder.

And as the organization winds down from its annual cultural celebration "Noche Latina" held Saturday, officers old and new celebrate Lindsay and the accomplishments CHispA has made in its 10 years.

Lindsay founded CHispA in 1990, with a small group of about 10 students. Now celebrating its 10th anniversary, the group boasts a membership of nearly 100.

"I started (CHispA) because I wanted to meet people who spoke Spanish, and I didn't see anyone on campus," said Lindsay, a 28-year-old master's student in public health. "I went to my adviser and told him my problem. He gave me the undergraduate roster, and I contacted Hispanic students."

Lindsay was not around to see CHispA grow into what it is today because she left UNC the next year. And to her surprise, CHispA had grown a lot in the 10 years she was gone.

"When I came back this year to get my master's, I found out that it had a constitution and an office," she said.

CHispA had actually expanded more than Lindsay realized. She found out from her mother, a Wilmington resident, that UNC-Wilmington has also opened a CHispA chapter.

"When we first started CHispA, we just met once a week in a room in the Student Union to talk in Spanish," Lindsay said.

Now CHispA can be found anywhere from the soup kitchens to Centro Latino, a Carrboro facility that provides various services for Hispanics.

"CHispA is not just about Hispanics at UNC -- it's for Hispanics in the entire community," said current CHispA President Pamela D'Empaire.

One program called CHispA Chicos pairs UNC students with Hispanic children to tutor them and serve as mentors.

CHispA also has many programs designed to promote cultural awareness.

The CHispA dance troop

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