From delicious carne asada, dancing to vibrant music, laughing and spending time with loved ones, Latinx Heritage Month would be a shame to miss. From Sep.15 to Oct.15, this month marks a time to honor the Latinx community’s inspiring stories, diverse cultures, achievements and contributions to American society.
Latinx Student Union (LSU) kicked off their celebrations for the month with a carne asada, complete with Latin music and lots of dancing. They had a record-breaking first meeting attendance of over 100 people, compared to the 70 people that attended last year. It was such a success that the club leaders were forced to wrap up the event at the end of the night.
“I don’t blame people for coming,” Franco said. “I mean, it is the best club on campus.”
LSU has many upcoming collaborations for Latinx Heritage Month. On Oct. 5, they are collaborating with Womxn of Color to highlight UP individuals who identify as a womxn of color and are a part of the Latinx community. Here they will talk about the role of intersectional identities in their lives, and celebrate with music and Michoacana paletas.
On Oct. 7, they are collaborating with Gender and Sexuality Partnership (GSP) to host an opportunity for LGBTQ+ members of the community to showcase or sell their products at the Our Campus, Our Canvas event.
Leaders of LSU, including LSU President, Karla Rivas ‘23, and co-event coordinators, Santiago Franco ‘25 and Diana Campos Hilario ‘24, share their reflections on how the club is celebrating and their excitement for the growing number of UP Latinx students.
Rivas acknowledges the privileged position they are in to celebrate, while also stating that celebrating is necessary to honor their culture and those who have struggled on their behalf.
Celebrating for Campos Hilario is a way to validate her experiences and those of students in similar positions.
“My parents are first generation,” Campos Hilario said. “They immigrated from Mexico when they were 16 and had me at the same age. Despite the privilege, I started from the bottom lowkey.”
Being able to say that she did go to college is extraordinary as her parents did not graduate high school. This is a story that resonates with many students on campus.
“Even though we are in a place of privilege, it gives us an opportunity to do more,” Campos Hilario said. “For me, a lot of things I do are rooted in trying to help uplift our community.”
Already, the leaders can see the club’s energy is elevated. LSU is growing along with the increasing number of Latinx students. This year, there were more than 100 incoming freshmen who either identified as Hispanic, Latino or multiracial.
“We owe it to Casandra Esparza, senior assistant director of admissions,” Rivas said. “ If you are seeing diversity increase on campus, at least from the Latinx community, it is because of her hard work.”
For Franco, seeing the rising number of Latinx students coming to UP was influential in his college decision.
As a second generation Mexican, early in his life he struggled with self-identity and how to embrace his culture.
“When I was younger it was hard in school being around first generation Latinos because I did things differently than them as I’m not Mexican Mexican, I’m Chicano - Mexican American,” Franco said.
Franco feels there are a lot of students who also don’t belong to a single culture and don’t go to LSU meetings for fear of not fitting in.
“I just hope that they do come, because you may find that this club will help you meet people and embrace your culture more,” Franco said. “We are just one Instagram DM away and are always excited to welcome new members.”
LSU has a variety of ideas and events in the making. One potential idea is to hold space at UP for Latinx students’ parents to share their inspiring stories. Many of their parents have been through a lot for their children and deserve the acknowledgement by society for who they are as people.
“There is power in stories,” Campos Hilario said. “It’s really important to remember what our parents have done and stay true to our roots. Their stories can really open our eyes and make us realize that our problems are not that serious.”
Rivas plans to use instagram takeovers to reach a wider audience in starting conversations around deep topics like colorism, imposter syndrome, machismo and generational trauma.
“We want to be able to focus on the pros and cons of our communities and how we can all raise them up,” Campos Hilario said. “I think for our club, Latinx Heritage Month is also a time for reflection on identity, how all the different Latin regions are interconnected and how they form who you are and the way you view the world.”
Meanwhile, the leaders will continue honoring this month through wearing patriotic clothing, spending time with family, eating good food, and attending more cultural festivities like El Grito de Independenica.
“I love our culture,” Rivas said. “It's so vibrant and colorful, and we want to welcome anyone into it.”
Also be on the lookout for the upcoming Día de Los Muertos thrift sale and karaoke night with Pilots After Dark on Oct. 28. Get in contact with any of the LSU leaders to donate clothing which will be refurbished and resold to fundraise for their club. They will be hosting their annual Mass for Our Lady of Guadalupe as well.
So, don’t be shy. Go celebrate Latinx Heritage Month with LSU and you are guaranteed to have a good time.
“What you’ll always see at LSU meetings is some type of music and dancing because honestly I think that’s the way our culture goes,” Campos Hilario said. “Where there's people, there’s a party.”
Sophia Truempi is a reporter for The Beacon. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.