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SOLAS Launches Digital Platform for Communications

A month into the Fall 2013 semester, the Student Organization for Latin American Studies (SOLAS) has announced a new, dedicated website that will serve as a digital platform for all of the organization's communications: www.solasunm.org.

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SOLAS is an independent, student-run organization that represents both undergraduate and graduate students pursuing degrees in Latin American Studies at the University of New Mexico (UNM) as well as those conducting research in the region. The organization has existed alongside the UNM Latin American & Iberian Institute (LAII) for decades. Though no one currently in office knows exactly, preliminary research indicates it may have started as early as 1975.

Throughout the years, one of SOLAS' primary functions has been to publish a compilation of Latin Americanist writings from the campus community. In the early years, the publication was called "Las Noticias." From 2000-2012, it was the "Latin American Multidisciplinary Opinion Newsletter," or LIMON. From 2006-2009, the organization even dabbled in online media by running a blog. For those interested in these earlier publications, many of the past issues of LIMON are available online through the LAII website.

This year has brought the latest iteration of SOLAS publications, with the organization moving its communications from paper and PDF formats to online information provided through a dedicated SOLAS website. This online space provides a dynamicand accessible forum for all UNM students studying Latin America to dialog and share. In effect, the website serves as a platform for broadcasting research and personal experience brought about by students' interactions with Latin America. Students are encouraged to interact, reflect, and contribute to the site by submitting opinion pieces, photography, research-driven articles, arts and culture reviews, and commentary on local, national, and international events, among other topics.

In part, SOLAS transitioned to a wholly digital platform in an effort to recognize and address the interdisciplinary nature of Latin American Studies at UNM. Students hail from Anthropology, Art History, Economics, History, Latin American Studies, Political Science, Sociology, and Spanish and Portuguese, among countless others. The digital space provides an accessible and spontaneous means for students of those many disciplines to come together and create a shared dialog. For Jeremy Falson, the 2013-2014 SOLAS coordinator and website editor, "SOLAS is the core that pulls all of these interests together, and hopefully this website represents that."

SOLAS' mission is to increase awareness about Latin American issues and cultural happenings through the facilitation of intellectual dialogue and by supporting engaging events. In addition, the organization works with UNM and local Albuquerque organizations to promote a shared sense of community and solidarity with socio-cultural movements rooted in or related to Latin America. Anyone interested in learning more about the organization or about becoming involved is encouraged to visit the SOLAS website and/or subscribe to the SOLAS listserv, the latter of which provides information about job opportunities, funding sources, conferences, and local cultural and political events related to Latin America. To join the listserv, send an email to SOLAS@unm.edu. For all questions and comments, contact Jeremy Falson, SOLAS coordinator and website editor, at jdfalson@unm.edu.

Image: Provided courtesy of Jeremy Falson.

--Printed Monday, September 23, 2013.