The Only Brazilian Club at UCF has Suspended All Events Due to COVID-19

Nathalia Rogacheski (far right) prepares for the first churrasco event on Feb. 8 with the other members of the Brazilian Student Association at UCF committee. The organization was forced to cancel all events for the remainder of the semester due to the COVID-19 pandemic, she said. 

The Brazilian Student Association — the only Brazilian club at UCF — postponed all of its events due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the club's president said.

The club had hopes of gathering new members after losing more than 40 students in the past semester, Brazilian Student Association President Nathalia Rogacheski said.

BRASA was created in 2014 to support the Brazilian community at UCF by promoting cultural awareness about Brazil and the Portuguese language, according to the club's constitution.

Since the organization's founding, the club has been trying to gain members in past semesters, but has not been successful, Rogacheski said. She said the Brazilian club has been trying all semester to regain new members by holding traditional Brazilian events.

The junior integrated business major said the past board committee could not handle the pressure of the club's demands. That led to the loss of many potential members in the past. 

As the new president, Rogacheski said her main goal is to bring everyone back together again.

"Our mission for this semester would be to grow as much as possible, so then in the future, we can volunteer and just have friends that will create for the rest of our lives," Rogacheski said. 

If they host any events, the Office of Student Involvement will remove them from the UCF organizations, Rogacheski said.

Alexandre Kaiss, one of BRASA's official members and a junior mechanical engineering major, said he moved to the United States from Brazil five years ago in hopes of a better life.  

He said that he decided to join BRASA this semester in hopes of meeting other Brazilians and to spread the Brazilian culture to people who wanted to know more 

“The reason that I joined is to be able to reach out and help other students who are in the club to learn Portuguese,” Kass said.

Kaiss also said he was upset that the club has to be stopped for the rest of the semester. 

“I think that it sucks that everything is being canceled and postponed," Kass said. "When the classes were moved online the professors have been assigning so much more homework, that even if the events were still going I wouldn’t be able to go." 

Daryl Urbina, a graduate student studying political science and the secretary of BRASA, said he learned Portuguese by himself. He said he wanted to help BRASA grow and expand throughout UCF to promote the Brazilian culture and due to the events being canceled he said that the club still has motivation with the members. 

“The team we have for the board of BRASA is still dedicated," Urbina said. "Even though the virus is affecting the goal of recruitment activities, it won’t stay like that forever. When this blows over, then we're going to keep that same energy. We're gonna keep doing events, we're gonna keep having people involved and even though we can't do it right now, we still have the ambition."

BRASA’s president said she is very upset about the decision of not having any events for the summer, because there is no set date for when everything will go back to normal.

“Unfortunately, right now we don't have an answer if we're going to have anything for summer just because of the restriction that UCF placed,” Rogacheski said.

Fernanda Barusco, junior pre-medical science major and treasurer of the club, said that she is disappointed that all the events had been canceled because the club has been gaining new members. To keep the club active, she said she sends out messages in the group chats that the club has created with the members to keep the motivation.

“We've just been trying to be as active as possible with the members and on our social media, just so people know that if this had not happened, we still would have been taking the club seriously and we still would be having events” Barusco said.

According to BRASA, membership dues that were paid in the beginning of the semester will still be honored through the summer and fall semesters.

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