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Banquet highlights Hispanic heritage

Saturday night will be one filled with food and fun as the Association of Latin American Students hosts its annual Hispanic Heritage banquet at 6 p.m. in the Hayden Clark Alumni Center.

“The banquet is our biggest event of the heritage month, and we use it to showcase a variety of Latin American cultures,” A.L.A.S. president Arely Herrera said. “In the past, we’ve had banquets centered around specific countries like Mexico and Columbia.”

Herrera said there will be live performances at the banquet.

“At the banquet there will be a quebradita performer who will also give bachata lessons after their performance,” Herrera, a senior social work major, said. “Then there will be a DJ playing for the rest of the night. Salsa club will also perform.”

A.L.A.S. vice president Ileana Ruiz said this year the banquet will not be limited to one country or culture.

“Quebradita originates in central Mexico, so they’ll bring a rustic Mexican vibe to the event,” Ruiz said. “But while the performers are Mexican, the food will come from all over Latin America.”

Herrera said the event focuses on exposing Bradley to Hispanic cultures in a friendly and fun way.

“We’re trying to get the word out about Latin Americans because people don’t know about us as much as they think they do,” Herrera said. “There aren’t a lot of Hispanic students at Bradley, so it’s really vital we make sure we’re seen.”

Ruiz said it was also about bringing together many generations of Latin Americans.

“We reach out to alumni, specifically members of Bradley Association of International and Latino Alumni, and highly encouraged them to attend the banquet,” Ruiz said. “They come and share their stories and experiences regarding A.L.A.S. and what it meant to them.”

The banquet and A.L.A.S. hope to build a community for Hispanic students, according to Herrera.

“I’ve been with A.L.A.S. since my freshman year, and I’ve made most of my friends through the organization,” Herrera said. “It’s nice to come together with like-minded people every week. It reminds you of home, and the people eventually become a sort of family to you.”

Tickets, which are free for Bradley students, can be acquired at the SAO office or via email at bradleyalas@gmail.com.

For more information about the banquet and A.L.A.S., students can visit www.alasbradley.wix.com.

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