National Hispanic Heritage Month celebrations begin at Baylor

The Hispanic Student Association hosted Parranda in 2019, featuring live music and dancing in the Burleson Quad. Photo by Baylor Photography

By Mariah Bennett | Staff Writer

National Hispanic Heritage Month begins Sept. 15 and lasts until Oct. 15. Throughout the month, Baylor students, faculty, staff and alumni are making sure to celebrate the culture and lives of the Hispanic and Latinx community through multiple events.

Springfield, Va., junior and Latinx Coalition intern in the Department of Multicultural Affairs Isabella Arteaga is a major coordinator of the upcoming events. Arteaga spoke on the goals of the celebrations.

“The events are aiming to create student and staff relationships,” Arteaga said. “A lot of it is just discussing everyday life for a Hispanic person or just conversation about how we can improve things for the Hispanic community on campus.”

National Hispanic Heritage Month’s starting date honors the anniversary of independence for five Latin American countries, including Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua.

According to Arteaga, events include a virtual Annual Hispanic Heritage Celebration Luncheon on Sept. 15, which is hosted by the Department of Multicultural Affairs, and a Neighbor Night at 6 p.m. on Sept. 21 outside of the Bobo Spiritual Life Center, which is hosted by the Latinx Association of Science and Health, or LASH. In the meantime, Arteaga said there are still some potential events in the works, including a more social event.

The keynote speaker at the luncheon and Neighbor Night will be Fernando Arroyo. Arroyo earned both his Bachelor of Science in biology and his MBA at Baylor. Now, Arroyo is the chief of staff at Waco Family Medicine. Arroyo has also worked as an adviser for multiple Fortune 50 firms.

Another big event is the Hispanic Heritage Banquet, which is hosted by Baylor’s Hispanic Student Association in conjunction with the Department of Multicultural Affairs and will be held at 6:30 p.m. on Oct. 7 in Barfield. Laguna Beach, Calif., junior and Hispanic Student Association president Ashley Flores said the event will feature a speaker and a three-course meal.

“It’s an opportunity for Baylor faculty, Latinos and the local community to come and have dinner with us,” Flores said.

Flores commended Baylor’s work in giving the Latinx community the opportunity to show its cultures and traditions during the month.

“You want to be celebrating something that really is something meaningful but also something you can learn of and be a part of,” Flores said.

Flores also said that the Hispanic Student Association represents multiple cultures in addition to that of Mexico, such as those of the Dominican Republic and Brazil.

“When I say culture, I really do mean Latinx culture, Latinx traditions and Latinx awareness,” Flores said.

A calendar with Hispanic Heritage Month events provides more ways to celebrate at Baylor, in addition to Waco Guides: Cultural Landmarks & Celebrations.

“Hispanic culture [is] really about enjoying it but also bringing everyone together,” Flores said.