This month, the Student Organization of Latinos, Hispanics, and Allies is celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month. Hispanic Heritage Month is celebrated annually to recognize Hispanics who have had a positive influence on the culture.
“SOL is a student organization of Latinos, Hispanics, and Allies, and our mission on campus is to spread awareness about Latino culture on campus because, unfortunately, the diversity on campus and in the area is very low. We focus on building a community within our organization in a hope that our students will find [Slippery Rock] to be like a home,” said the President of SOL, Juliana Rios said.
The organization is actually pronounced “Sol,” which is the word for “sun” in Spanish and the organization uses that to their advantage. When the club can be on campus, the club hosts a number of events including fiestas. In a typical year, SOL teams up with the Office of Inclusive Excellence (OIE) to do Hispanic heritage month. The organization normally puts on a Day of the Dead showcase, though, like the fiestas for Hispanic Heritage month, that has been canceled for this year.
“We have been using our social media as much as we can because we realized that that’s a resource to reach students and we’ve recently created a GroupMe with our group members to keep them connected,” Rios said.
Some of the things that SOL is doing to keep students engaged include bringing in a chef, hosting a speaker, and participating in Zumba that is hosted by OIE. The goal is to keep students connected from afar. Members of the club were also invited to speak at an event recently.
“OIE has done multiple events and they’re doing a scavenger hunt later this month, and as for SOL, we’re having a speaker come talk over Zoom and he’s going to talk about his experiences, which is super exciting for us,” Rios said.
All of the events that are taking place virtually are part of the plan for students to still be doing things, but to a much lesser extent. SOL has also been teaming with OIE and Spanish Club to sponsor more events.
The goal of Hispanic Heritage month is to show people that the Hispanic and Latino culture is much more than just people who come from Mexico. In SOL, there are students that come from all over the place, even as far as Bolivia. These events help both keep those students connected and spread awareness about the Hispanic and Latino culture at the same time.
“Hispanic Heritage is personally important to me because it displays the culture that sometimes we lack in our country, and I feel like it’s so beautiful because some people don’t realize how vast the Hispanic culture is,” Rios said. “I feel like people tend to group Hispanics together and think ‘oh if you’re Hispanic, you’re Mexican,’ but we have people in our club from all over the place and we’re all connected by language and it’s awesome to have a time and platform to celebrate our culture together.”