Hispanic heritage month closes with East Mall celebration

Quanit Ali

On Thursday night, laughter and Latin cuisine filled the East Mall during Somos Latinos, an event marking the end of Hispanic Heritage Month. 

Latino Pan-Hellenic Council and Latino Community Affairs co-hosted the festival to close out the month-long celebration of Hispanic history and culture.

“I hope Hispanic students get to rediscover their culture and maybe find out some things they didn’t know before and find out who they are,” said Marcus Ramirez, economics junior and vice president of the Association of Latino Professionals For America. 

Ramirez said the event reminds students of their roots and where they come from, while also giving non-Hispanic students an opportunity to experience their culture.

Somos Latinos was a carnival-style event where students played games, such as darts and musical chairs to earn tickets, which could used to buy food and treats. 

“It’s very reminiscent of having parties back home … enjoying pan dulces and pupusas,” Ramirez said. “It’s nice to be able to bring that [to UT].” 

Erasto Renteria, LCA co-director and advertising senior, said Hispanic Heritage Month aspires to showcase Latino heritage on campus and foster a sense of community among UT students.

“We want Latino students to come and congregate and see other students that are like them,” Renteria said.

Vincent Collura, LPHC president and applied movements science senior, said a major issue on campus is the disparity of representation, but events like Somos Latinos help underrepresented demographics on campus gain exposure.

“Caucasian students proportional to [Caucasian] Greek students is a lot larger than total Hispanics to Hispanic-Greeks,” Collura said.

Campus organizations also sought to make an impact and raise awareness of Latino presence on campus and in the workforce. The Kappa Delta Chi sorority and the Association of Latino Professionals For America were recruiting students at Somos Latinos. 

“We invite Latinos, but it’s open to everyone else as well,” Ramirez said. “[ALPFA] started with just Latinos trying to find their way into the professional world and develop themselves into future leaders.”

ALPFA tabled to raise awareness of the services they offer, from résumé building to securing internships.

“We try to develop our members to promote diversity in the business world because it seems to be lacking in recent years,” Ramirez said.

Somos Latinos marked the last major event for Hispanic Heritage Month, which officially ends on Oct. 15.