From Sept. 15 – Oct. 15, SMU’s Social Change and Intercultural Engagement office hosted many events which incorporated and featured members of the Hispanic community. From guest speakers and alum to movie showings and a silent disco, it brought representation from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central and South America to SMU.
SCIE’s Instagram also voiced representation through eight testimonials of SMU Hispanic students. These students came from Hispanic clubs, such as CHAS, and spoke about what being Hispanic meant to them.
As one student, Arath Dominguez, said on Instagram, “I love my Hispanic/Latino heritage because of the culture that unites us all.”
In a campus where the Hispanic population makes up only 12% of the student body, it can be hard to find community. SCIE wanted to create a place for the Hispanic community. It was also a chance to bring awareness to all the cultures that make up the community.
“For this month, my underlying theme was that words matter, representation matters – we are not just one monolith,” Laura Searle, Intercultural Engagement Coordinator in SCIE, said.
There were many ways to connect and learn in this month, including through various panels. One brought in Jenny Lorenzo, a Cuban-American social media comedian, to discuss her experience as an Hispanic. Another had Hispanic alumni discussing how their identity has affected their workplace experience. Lastly, a lecture featuring the Associate Professor of Spanish, Dr. Alberto Pastor, covered the importance of language and identity.
“It is much more important to have engagement and involvement,” Searle said. “[Students] are having meaningful conversations and making connections in the actual event itself.”
Representation was key in these events. Local businesses catered events and introduced authentic foods and experiences. SCIE stressed the importance of bringing different cultures to campus so that every student, not just Hispanic, could experience different cultures.
“We all come from different backgrounds,” Searle said. “But we wanted to show that there are people here who have the same identity as you.