Spanish music filled the University Center as students gathered over Latin food and games at the LatinX Heritage Month Kick-Off and Welcome on Wednesday.

Students sat at colorful tables in the Palo Duro Lounge topped with Loteria — a Mexican game similar to Bingo — game cards and pinto beans during the event. A small stage with papel picado — or decorative paper — and a microphone was used to call out the images on the cards.

Although Hispanic Heritage Month technically begins on Sept. 15, Michelle Carone, linguistics and Spanish senior, said the event served to kick-start the rest of the month.

While traditional Loteria was on the tables, Carone said a funnier, a more relatable version for college students called Millennial Loteria was also played.

Carone, Paso a Paso’s Mavs in Movimiento president, said the group gave free dance lessons after the games. She said the event served as a way to make the Hispanic community and heritage known on campus.

“We need more representation so we’re slowly getting there,” Carone said. “Fun events like this one help a lot.”

Jarritos soda, pan dulce, Cubano sandwiches and Salvadorian pupusas were served, each labeled with a description of its origin.

Nursing freshman Kimberly Billalbando said the event felt like home.

Billalbando was convinced to come to the event by her friend, nursing freshman Nayeli Gonzalez.

Gonzalez said celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month is important in understanding the culture, and going beyond what the eye can see.

“It has everything to do with our culture,” Gonzalez said. “No matter if you’re from Central America or South America or Spain, everything has to do with your culture.”

Social work sophomore Madeline Perez said the event was great for Hispanic representation.

Perez said as a diverse campus, it’s beneficial to showcase various cultures.

“It really unifies people and shows diversity and inclusivity and it really just brings people together,” Perez said.


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