Hispanos Unidos introduced a new banquet Tuesday in the Hunter Welcome Center.
The Office of Multicultural Affairs and student organization Hispanos Unidos annually conduct the festival Entra a la Plaza. This year, they provided the additional Hispanic Heritage Month banquet along with a few new traditions.
Hispanos Unidos student president Itzel Garcia De Alba said that the event will create new understandings of Hispanic culture on campus.
“We wanted to make students more aware of the month, and one of the ideas was having a banquet,” said Alba, senior communication and international studies major from Jalisco, Mexico. “The other clubs all have banquets, and we wanted to do that as well, so that students could become more aware of the Hispanic student body.”
Entra a la Plaza drew around 800 people last year, but some still felt the event could be improved. Spencer Stocks, junior nutrition major from Houston, has attended this event the last two years and said that she is eager to see new events this month.
“I love the festival; it’s so awesome to see everyone in their traditional clothes and to hear the music,” she said. “However, I’ve always felt a little disappointed to only see Tex Mex foods available. I am there to experience new cultures, not what I’m used to.”
This goal for this banquet is to provide new ways for Hispanos Unidos to showcase other Hispanic cultures. Alba said the changes will enable students to become more aware of the diversity among ACU’s Hispanic population.
“In the past we’ve only done Tex Mex, but this year we will have Latin American dishes that will be new to many students,” she said. “We want to push past the idea that Mexican culture is Hispanic culture, starting with the food.”
Food will not be the only changes to this month’s celebrations. According to the Office of Multicultural Affairs, students will now need to pay $5 to enter the Entra a la Plaza festival. There will also be a viewing of the film Selena Sept. 24 in Cullen Auditorium.
Hispanos Unidos members will also be volunteering to aid young students at Abilene Independent School Districts in learning more about Hispanic Heritage Month.
Prentice Ashford, director of the Office of Multicultural Affairs, has been involved with many of these changes and said that they bring positive chances to students.
“The banquet is just to signify the official start of Hispanic Heritage Month,” he said. “We want to make new annual traditions that will bring more exposure to the diversity of the Hispanic students involved in our community.”
Students who attended heard popular Hispanic speaker Gabe Salazar.
“I saw Salazar speak in high school and was really moved by his positive messages to students,” Alba said. “I think it will be great for young Hispanics to hear how he became one of the top young speakers.”
Salazar has spoken for I Am Second and was recognized as America’s No. 1 Latino youth speaker by Popular Hispanics magazine. Ashford said a big name like Salazar is important to the success of this event.
“We wanted someone energetic who would really speak to our student body,” Ashford said. “Hopefully we can make it an annual tradition and bring in more prominent speakers to give our students exposure to who’s out there and create exposure for this tradition.”
Students interested in any of these events can find information on the Hispanos Unidos Facebook page or by emailing Prentice Ashford at firstname.lastname@example.org.