Food, bonding and appreciation

MSU gets ready for their Hispanic Heritage Month events

Sept. 15 marks the beginning of this year’s Hispanic Heritage Month. The month is a celebration of the culture and contributions of Hispanic Americans. Around the country, celebrations occur between Sept. 15 and Oct. 15. For the Roger Williams University community, the celebrations are being hosted by the Multicultural Student Union (MSU) and will include many events to help celebrate and honor Hispanic American history.

The president of MSU, junior Jesahias Quiroa, is in his first year leading the celebrations. Quiroa is the son of two Guatemalan parents, and when he came to RWU, he felt isolated and alone. He then began getting involved with the school after seeing posters about MSU and the Hispanic and Latinx Student Association (HALSA). He began feeling accepted in the community and wished to help others who felt the same way as him.

“Because of the experience I had here, I want to make sure Hispanic and LatinX students are able to find people they can relate to and, even if it is just meeting one person to say hi to on their way to class, that small thing can really make a big difference,” Quiroa said. “I know that’s what helped me and I want to do everything I can to help others like me.”

One of the events planned for the month-long series is a collaboration with Commons and will consist of different Hispanic and Latinx dishes. According to Quiroa, MSU wanted to do this collaboration to give Hispanic and Latinx students a feeling of home, although nothing could beat his mother’s cooking. He also mentioned how it is a great opportunity for students of other cultures to appreciate and try new recipes.

The culinary collaboration will begin Sept. 21 and last until Oct. 12, with the dishes being available between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. in Commons.

From 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Sept. 24, MSU will be hosting a workshop for Hispanic Heritage Month. Quiroa could not give many specifics but hinted that the guest speaker was someone who works closely with Rhode Island Governor Daniel McKee. The workshop will take place in the Global Heritage Hall (GHH) Atrium.

Quiroa is most looking forward to Noche Latina, which is being co-sponsored with HALSA and will take place on Oct. 8 from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. in the GHH Atrium. It will be his first time experiencing the night, which is usually a yearly occurrence, which adds to his excitement.

Quiroa is excited for the month-long event series and hopes the RWU community feels the same. He described how MSU is proud to help diversity flourish in the predominantly white RWU community.

“We always want to let BIPOC students know that they belong here and that they earned their right to be here, and if they feel like they don’t know who to turn to who could understand their issues, MSU always wants them to know that we are here,” Quiroa said.

These events are a great way for Hispanic and Latinx students to celebrate their cultural heritage and find others they can relate to. They are also wonderful opportunities for non-Hispanic or Latinx students to learn about cultures they have not experienced and help them understand and appreciate the differences between them and their classmates.

“Here’s to a successful Hispanic Heritage Month, not only for MSU, but for any of my Hispanic/LatinX friends who are longing for a sense of home and comfort,” Quiroa said. “You are loved, you deserve and earned your right to be here on campus, and never let anyone else tell you that you are not. Stand proud and stand strong, mi gente. And, of course, good luck to all of you with the rest of the school year!”