As students and staff walked to classes Monday afternoon, they were greeted with sweet treats, colorful music and a group of enthusiastic Association of Latin American Students (ALAS) members. The event was in celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month, which takes place from Sept. 15 through Oct. 15.
The table in Olin Quad featured three different flavors of paletas, or Spanish popsicles, made by the clubs members. For many, including junior Bennett Rubenacker, this was their first experience with the treat.
I didnt know about this event [beforehand], but the music and the group had drawn me in, Rubenacker, a community wellness major, said. I had one of the Mango flavored paletas – it tasted really good.
Nycole Lozano, president of ALAS, said this two-hour event was their kick-off to Hispanic Heritage Month. For ALAS, Lozano said this was a good opportunity to not only introduce their cultures food to the Bradley community, but to also establish their presence and importance around campus.
The goal was to educate [Bradley students and faculty] on what ALAS is and what we do, Lozano, a sophomore retail merchandising major, said. Our mission, as the Association of Latin American Students, is to promote awareness of Latin American, Latino [and] Hispanic cultures through educational, cultural, community service and social events.
The organization accepts any student interested, regardless of their cultural background. According to Lozano, hosting this event opened the organization up to a wider demographic.
The majority of our [attendees] are latinos, and I think thats so because, one: we hold these events to reach out and bring minority students together, and two: unless you know someone who will be attending the event, it could be a little uncomfortable to enter an event where everyone is different from you, Lozano said.
Lozano said she feels this is a barrier, as someone shouldnt have to identify with a certain heritage in order to explore it. In fact, members within ALAS are urged to attend events hosted by other cultural clubs as well.
I think we should respect each other and celebrate our differences. Diversity is beautiful and knowledge is power, Lozano said. By celebrating different cultures on campus, we can learn a thing or two about people across the world.
For Hispanic Heritage month specifically, ALAS will be recognizing the contributions and achievements of Hispanic and Latin Americans, as well as sharing fun facts and information on social media.
The club also plans to host several more events throughout the month and encourages students to look out for Hispanic Heritage Month Calendar posters around campus.
For more information and updates on upcoming events for Hispanic Heritage month, follow @budiversity, @bradley_alas, @alpfa_bradleyuniversity and @bradley_shpe on Instagram.