Hispanic Heritage Month at SRU began on Sept. 15 with the university’s first Hispanic/Latino Cultures Meet and Greet. Some upcoming events have been held here before, such as drag bingo, while others are being organized for the first time.
The Student Organization of Hispanics/Latinos and Allies (SOL, pronounced like the Spanish word “sol”) is one group involved in planning Hispanic Heritage Month. SOL president Mason Reisz described the organization’s purpose as “promoting Latino and Hispanic culture [through] events”.
Reisz spoke about the effects of SOL on Hispanic and non-Hispanic students.
“It brings us together, especially at different events,” Reisz said. “I know my friends in SOL who speak Spanish connect really well with international students.”
Two international students, Andres Ortiz and Natalia Diaz, hold executive board positions at SOL.
As for non-Hispanic students, Reisz said they would come up to the previous president during events to talk about how much they had learned.
One Hispanic Heritage Month event is specifically designed to educate. Café y Pan is a returning Q&A panel on the Hispanic/Latino experience. This year, it will expand to include traveling abroad, since an advisor for SOL will be teaching in Spain next spring.
Two events are brand-new this year. The first event of the month, Hispanic/Latino Cultures Meet and Greet, allows Hispanic and Latino students, faculty and staff to get to know each other. The other will celebrate the World Cup. On Oct. 19, club members and other interested students plan to meet for a soccer game.
According to Reisz, joining SOL as a freshman allowed him to connect with a culture that isn’t well-established at SRU.
“During high school, I wasn’t involved with my culture very much because I was adopted,” Reisz said. “I never really knew much about Hispanic culture, but joining opened that up for me.”
“We’re [overshadowed] because, obviously, we are in the minority,” Reisz continued. “We’re trying to get ourselves out there, and people on campus have been hearing us.”