Image by Aleksandra Senyukova, Staff Photographer
Eduardo Sanchez (left), a second-year studying Mechanical engineering, Liz Sarabia (center), a third-year studying Criminology and Political science and Joey Guevara (right), a second year studying Computer engineering, pose for a photo at the Latinx Heritage Month Kickoff in Talley Student Union on Friday, Sept. 15, 2023.
The first official event for North Carolina State University’s Latinx Heritage Month celebration was headlined by a tabling event for Latinx organizations on Sept. 15 at Talley Student Union. At around 11:50 a.m., “25/8” by Bad Bunny started playing over the speakers. Students began the event by dancing to music and waving around hand flags as they continued setting up their tables. Even though the event hadn’t started, its purpose immediately became clear. This was more than a tabling event. This was a celebration of Latinx culture.
Organizations at the event included Sube Ritmo, the Mexican American Student Association (MASA), Mi Familia, the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE), the NC State Spanish Department, the Lambda Theta Phi Fraternity, Inc. and the Lambda Pi Chi Sorority, Inc.
Organizations filled their tables with flags, poster boards and occasionally freebies. The organizations offered information about themselves to students who requested it, as well as pamphlets.
Lizbeth Sarabia, the President of MASA, spoke about their experience at the event. “So people would just come up to us and ask about what our organization stands for. We basically just let them know. We also invited them to our upcoming events and stuff,” they said.
Some organizations held fundraising events. For example, MASA sold food in the form of fruit and chicharrónes to students for $4 and $2, respectively. Mi Familia did something similar, selling Jarritos and Tamarindo sticks. SHPE also fundraised and sold raffle tickets, which will be drawn on Oct. 11.
The event drew many students including Ian Fox, a third-year Business student, Raiden Castro, a first-year Computer Engineering student and Antonio Jaquez, a first-year Agriculture Business Management student. All three of them attended the event together and spoke about their experience.
“I’m Hispanic, my parents are from Mexico, so I think hearing the music kind of caught my attention,” Fox said. The upbeat music, which played throughout Talley, highlighted several Latinx artists,
including Kali Uchis, Bad Bunny and Jowell & Randy.
They were, also, drawn in by the food sold at the event, “We found a booth with some food, and some fruit, and then some spicy sauce,” Fox said. “We stopped to eat, we were talking and hanging out there.” They certainly weren’t the only students who bought food at the event. It felt like most students at the event were holding Jarritos or eating something from one of the tables.
The food sales aren’t just anecdotal, however. Dayana Gutierrez, a third-year student studying anthropology, helped run the table for Mi Familia, an organization that runs a forum focusing on the Latinx community. Dayana spoke about their experience selling food at the event. “The event went really well. Just with what we were fundraising, we were able to sell almost all of it.” she said.
Despite the purpose of the event being sharing information, the event was full of moments with students having fun and celebrating Latinx culture. As students danced, waved flags or just laughed together, it appeared everyone had a smile on their face.
Castro, also, spoke about the atmosphere of the event, saying, “Yeah I think it’s fun like not only the music, people are actually like dancing to it and you’re watching them have fun, it’s a good vibe.”
Outside of just having fun, the event brought awareness to Latinx Heritage Month. Gutierrez said, “This event is important because it was during the first day of Latin Heritage Month. So it really helped with bringing awareness, bringing, I guess, a community together, for especially the Latinx students at State.”
Gutierrez continued speaking about bringing awareness to Latinx organizations, saying, “We’re really trying to get out there just so people know more about us and we can help them get in
touch with the other orgs too, especially the other Latinx orgs so that they know and can get more involved on campus and kind of help other people find their communities as well, even if they’re not in our club specifically.”
Sarabia echoed these sentiments, saying, “We would like for there to be, you know, more events regarding our cultures and everything. We want people to basically be open-minded and know that there is a Hispanic community on campus and that we just want the support from others.”
Fox also spoke about the importance of visibility at the event, saying, “I loved it, you know I’m Hispanic, I love to see that our Hispanic culture is being portrayed and shown to everybody.”
While the event celebrated members of the Latinx community, Sarabia emphasized the event was for everyone. “Yes, this is Hispanic Heritage Month, but it’s not Hispanic Heritage month without other people celebrating with us, for us,”
Gutierrez echoed this idea, saying, “The club, I think it’s just really big on trying to spread awareness. And just like informing others of, like, Hispanic and Latinx culture and you know like we’re inclusive to everybody it’s not just Hispanic or Latinx students.”
Throughout the event, students could learn about Latinx culture, regardless of their race or ethnicity. The food, pamphlets, flags, information and just the event’s location, which was right at the front entrance of Talley, drew a diverse crowd of students to the tables.
“Having it in Talley was really nice and I think just having people walk by and ask questions,” Gutierrez said. “I know I talked a lot when I was talking to people. I was like they didn’t know much about the
club so it was good to just kind of le them know.”
The tabling event officially wrapped up around 2 p.m., with some tables starting to pack up a bit earlier. In addition to the tabling, students were also attended a flag-making event in the Women’s Center, where they were able to paint canvas flags to represent their home country, themselves or anything else they wanted.
On that same day, a cookout was held at Tucker-Owen beach from 6-8 pm for Latinx Heritage Month. More events are planned for the month, and a schedule of those events can be found on the NC State website. Latinx Heritage Month runs from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15. You can visit the NC State Get Involved website to learn more about the organizations mentioned in this article.