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The State Hornet

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The student news site of Sacramento State University

The State Hornet

The student news site of Sacramento State University

The State Hornet

Student news without fear or favor

Culture, connection and Cumbia: Serna Center event celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month

La Bienvenida event brings Latin cultures together in celebration
The+Center+on+Race%2C+Immigration+and+Social+Justice+set+up+a+booth+welcoming+students+to+La+Bienvenida+Wednesday%2C+Sept.+20%2C+2023.+La+Bienvenida+is+an+event+hosted+by+the+Serna+Center+on+campus+and+showcases+clubs+and+resources+dedicated+to+connecting+with+students+to+celebrate+the+start+of+Hispanic+Heritage+Month.+
Brionna Woody
The Center on Race, Immigration and Social Justice set up a booth welcoming students to La Bienvenida Wednesday, Sept. 20, 2023. La Bienvenida is an event hosted by the Serna Center on campus and showcases clubs and resources dedicated to connecting with students to celebrate the start of Hispanic Heritage Month.

The library quad donned a colorful array of paper banners, known as papel picado, with streamers in various shades of yellows and pinks wrapped around trees as the voices of Latin artists boomed from loudspeakers at La Bienvenida on Wednesday.

The annual event hosted by the Serna Center was a kickoff to Hispanic Heritage Month, which began Sept. 15. It welcomed incoming and returning Sac State students to their “Hornet familia and celebrated all aspects of Chicano/Latin culture.

Immediately immersed in the world of Latin culture, students and faculty from various departments across campus showed up to celebrate and connect with one another and learn more about how Sac State serves its Latin population.

“Students have an opportunity to build community and connect with campus leadership, Latin/multicultural student clubs and organizations and key campus resource centers,” Serna Center Coordinator, Juana Zaragoza said.

The event was originally named La Raza Bienvenida, but was soon changed to La Bienvenida in an effort to be more inclusive of all Latin culture and diversity on campus, Erik Ramirez, director of equity and affinity centers, said.

Many students danced together to the lively music and some made conversation with one another at the multiple arts and crafts tables where they created papier mache flowers and drawings.

“It makes my inner child’s heart really happy to see so many other Hispanic people,” a political science major, Starr Ochoa-Cuevas said, who expressed they rarely experience being surrounded by so many people like them in a place of celebration.

Ramirez said that an event like this is all about showing appreciation and celebration of Latin culture.

“The goal is that every student leaves with some connection made or something new that is now in their repertoire of options and resources and opportunities that are available for them here on campus,” Ramirez said.

Sac State’s Mujeres Ayudando La Raza club’s table drew in many students. Mujeres Ayudando La Raza is a cultural based club that connects students on campus with community resources and outreach.

RELATED: Best of Sac State 2022: Mujeres Ayudando la Raza wins best club

“Being at something where everyone is listening to similar music and we all have similar cultural backgrounds, helps people see that we’re here and see what we represent,” Mari Mendoza Leon, Mujeres Ayudando La Raza’s co-coordinator and fourth year political science major, said. “We actually got a lot of our members from last semester through this event.”

There were many other cultural clubs and sororities present in an effort to increase outreach to Latin students.

The food was the most popular attraction. A line wrapped around the entire quad as students made their way to get a taste of Mexican desserts, aguas frescas and popcorn, ready to be smothered with as much hot sauce as one desired.

While in line, students could be heard making plans with each other about the events they hoped to attend in the future or spending time looking over their stamp cards that attendees could mark off at the tables they visited for a chance to win a prize.

The event’s keynote speaker Carlos Nevarez, interim Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs, spoke on his motivation to ensure there is an increase in Latin faculty representation to accurately reflect the way students see themselves on campus.

He encouraged the crowd to work hard and get into their own positions of leadership so that they could achieve better representation for themselves and promote diversity in the future.

“There is a democratic message of ‘si se puede’. You can do this, you can have these positions too,” Nevarez said.

As the event drew to a close, many stuck around to sit with new friends at tables talking and laughing while others danced together to the loud Cumbia music that students said reminded them of their childhood.

“In this culture, everyone likes to hang out together,” Mario Alcantar, first year graphic design major, said. “It brings everyone together no matter what culture or race you are.”

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About the Contributor
Julianna Rodriguez
Julianna Rodriguez, DEI Editor
(she/her) Julianna Rodriguez joined The State Hornet in fall 2023 as a DEI staffer and is now the editor for DEI. She is a senior public relations major, and hopes to become a publicist or work for a PR firm after graduating this spring.
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