Hispanic Heritage Month kicks off for Latin culture lovers

If you were anywhere near Loser Hall on Wednesday, Sept. 19 around 3 p.m. you may have wondered why a group of people were parading down the sidewalk with a huge banner and two traditional Chinese lions.

The members of Uni?n Latina, Black Student Union (BSU), Asian American Association (AAA), Chi Upsilon Sigma, Lambda Sigma Upsilon, Theta Nu Xi, Lambda Theta Alpha and Lambda Tau Omega were marching from Loser Hall to the Travers/Wolfe lawn, where the clubs had set up a barbeque to kick off Hispanic Heritage Month, which takes place from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15.

“The leadership from past years never took initiative to show awareness for the month. We started with a Parade and barbeque because we wanted to get the attention of the campus and say ‘Hey, it’s Hispanic Heritage Month,'” Eliana Reyes, president of Uni?n Latina, said via e-mail.

Reyes explained that Hispanic Heritage Month is a very important time in the Latin community because it honors the historical and cultural diversity and unique contributions of the Hispanic community both in the United States and the 20 Spanish-speaking countries around the world. According to Reyes, this is the first time that the Latino community has had a procession and barbeque to alert students to the start of Hispanic Heritage Month. Joining with other minority clubs is also a first.

“It was a way to show the campus that we do celebrate diversity in more than just name, and that there are those of us on campus who enjoy each other’s heritages,” Genghis Tan, president of AAA, said. “Also, this was a display of the beginning of organizational unity that AAA, Uni?n Latina and BSU want to foster in the coming year.”

Other than the barbeque, Uni?n Latina, with the help of various other multicultural organizations, plans on offering activities for the whole campus to get involved in, enjoy and hopefully learn from over the next month. The future activities include a night of social commentary combined with movie viewing, selective “Latin Cuisine Nights” at Eickhoff Hall and, finally, the annual Explosion Latina. Explosion Latina is a time where students can showcase their talents for the whole campus.

Wendolin Regalado, senior sociology major and vice president of Chi Upsilon Sigma, said, “It is important for the campus community to be aware of the Latino presence on campus. This parade and barbeque, and the rest of the events we have planned, are a great way to draw attention to ourselves in a positive way.”

Students interested in attending these events can go to Uni?n Latina’s Web site at tcnj.edu/~ulso or check for events on the weekly “This week at (the College)” e-mails. In addition to the aforementioned activities, Reyes also promised a few surprises for students at the College that will be revealed later in the semester.

Reyes promised, “The best is yet to come (so) stay tuned!”