By Joe Correa
In a room decorated with cultural ornaments and flags from various South American nations, Union Latina hosted “Hot Topics with Hot Wings” on Wednesday, Sept. 19 in the Brower Student Center Room 217.
The event’s purpose was to promote discussion of controversial subjects among students.
As students filled the room, a vase of paper slips was passed around with questions, giving everyone a turn to answer. These questions ranged from, “What was the craziest thing you’ve done and would you do it again,” to addressing important social issues like, “Statistics show that New Jersey has one of the most racially segregated school systems in the nation. Would you say that your school district reflects that?”
Many students agreed on the importance of being exposed to differing viewpoints.
“I think it sucks how some people will completely dismiss someone else based on political views,” said Boris Salazar, a sophomore chemistry major. “When I interact someone else with different political views, I find it more interesting because political views are shaped by your experiences and how you grew up.”
These discussions continued as students engaged with each other and shared their experiences. Most were happy to be able to hold a dialogue about current social issues that they found prevalent to today’s society.
“I think it’s important to bring up these hot topics,” said Alejandra Luque-Perez, a freshman international studies major. “Everyone’s afraid that someone’s going to judge them, but it’s really open here.”
Nita Eroles, a freshman biology major, said that Union Latina gives students a safe space to express their views. The meeting offered a chance to meet new people over important discussion.
“It’s a good opportunity for people to share their opinions and socialize a little bit with people from their own culture,” he said.
It is that same feeling of open-mindedness that drove students to actively participate in the discussion, all while enjoying their own plate of hot wings.
For some, Union Latina represents newfound inclusion at the College, and the club aims to continue in that vein.
“Since I transferred, it was really hard for me to feel like this is my school,” said Karla Flores, a senior early childhood education and sociology double major, and the club’s community service chair. “But then having this club opened my eyes to realize I’m not the only one here, there’s many other people who I can relate to.”