By Pablo Gonzales | Assistant News Editor
Every week this semester, members of the Festival Latino planning committee have sold Horchata, cinnamon and rice-flavored water, and other refreshments to raise money for Festival Latino, a new event that will take place in the spring that celebrates Pan-American culture.
Festival Latino is the brainchild of two Baylor seniors Josh Rizzo and Monica Luna. The two have partnered with the Latinx Coalition and Baylor Multicultural Affairs to bring Festival Latino to campus.
Dallas senior Monica Luna and Austin senior Josh Rizzo said they wanted to see a bigger event that celebrates Pan-American culture and diversity. The two students came together to plan a week long event full of activities that Baylor students could participate in to understand all that Pan-American culture has to offer.
Rizzo said the festival is meant to be a deeply engaging experience in Pan-American culture and bring Latino professionals to campus to speak about their experiences in specific fields. At the end of the week, there will be a networking event with Latino Baylor alumni across different fields.
“Festival Latino is an immersive experience that is meant to demonstrate the diverse cultures of the people of Latin America,” Rizzo said. “All-in-all, it’s a five-day event full of lectures from Hispanic culture experts in the professional realm, indie film screenings, a carnival-style festival and a networking event with Latino Baylor alumni.”
San Antonio senior Elysse Reyes said that not only is she looking forward to the event, but that it also serves as an opportunity for the Baylor campus to open their minds to the culture.
“I am so excited that we will have an event of this caliber in celebration of Hispanic Heritage,” Reyes said. “Our entire university can come out and learn more about our culture.”
Luna said she believes that this event is important for the Baylor community because it is an opportunity for those who aren’t familiar with different Latin American cultures to become educated on them. She believes it is a fun place where people can learn without judgement.
“Festival Latino is a student-powered initiative that is aiming to educate the Baylor community about our neighboring cultures,” Luna said. “It’s important to create a space in which we are able to ask questions and learn without judgement, and Festival Latino will provide that space.”
Rizzo and Luna have formed a task force that is in charge of helping them plan and fundraise for the event. Every week, the group has a table in the Baylor Sciences Building atrium where they sell Horchata along with other fruit waters to raise money for the event. They will be set up from 1 to 5 p.m. every Wednesday afternoon.