This past Saturday the Latino Student Organization (LSO) hosted a celebration to mark the end of Hispanic Heritage Month. The celebration runs from September 15 to October 15 and covers important aspects of the Hispanic culture, such as food, dance, music and the achievements of the Hispanic community. With everything being so up in the air, between COVID-19 and the other trials of 2020, it was heartwarming to see life as it should be whilst maintaining social distancing measures. LSO brought forth music, fantastic food and piñata hitting to bring people together.
The event itself was a hit. Right away, there was a line to get food from the El Caribe food truck. One could feel the excitement and joy spread through the Pine Grove. Students swung wildly at an elevated piñata, held in place by volunteers who were out of range of both potential COVID exposure and the rampant swings of the participants. When a piñata was finally cracked open, students were able to grab a piece of candy among the remains. A fair amount of Hope’s community gathered and congregated at this event, which lasted from 2 to 6:00 p.m. For many students, myself included, it has been difficult to know when events are because of differing dates from emails and posters. I was pleased to see that this did not affect the turnout of the event. That is to say, one cannot have better advertising than the smell and presence of food on a college campus! If I had to guess, I would estimate well over 150 students attended the event throughout its duration.
I was able to talk to senior Jason Veldman and his friend, who both said they had learned of the event through a mutual friend. Both had only gone to one or two other Hope events this semester and were waiting anxiously in line for the food truck. Maggie Thompson, a freshman, explained that she saw someone with food and thought she’d better come over and get some as well. The food was more than worth it; with warm tacos and yummy toppings, one could not have hoped for a better Saturday lunch or evening snack. If you were like me and had a second lunch like a Hobbit because you technically already ate lunch, you still were unable to pass up this delicious opportunity. With ice cold Jarritos Mexican sodas to wash it down and candy from the piñata, it was the meal of champions.
I was lucky enough to catch Carmen Rodriguez on a break, and she graciously gave me her time to be interviewed. Carmen is a junior and a trustee for LSO in charge of social outreach. She explained that this event was planned by the LSO, but for this particular experience they decided to pair with Student Congress when they learned about “Something Every Saturday,” a Hope campaign series intended to continue holding fun and engaging events during this time when socialization has become difficult. It is a variation on “Something Every Tuesday” that occurred up until this semester. These events are focused on keeping students involved and helping them maintain a positive mindset as they struggle through a year with significantly fewer Hope events than normal. As the name suggests, the aim is to always have an event or two available on the weekends.
Those interested in participating in future LSO events should refer to their Instagram page (@lsohopecollege) to learn more about upcoming activities and gatherings. The next upcoming event for LSO is “Dia de los Muertos,” also known as “The Day of the Dead,” from October 31 to November 2. This is a celebration in honor of friends and family who have passed on. While activities have yet to be finalized as of the time of this writing, LSO wants you to know there will be a variety of opportunities for students within their finalized event. The activities themselves will be held in the Kruizenga Art Museum. LSO is open to anyone wanting to learn more about Hispanic heritage, and they welcome all to learn about this dynamic and diverse culture.