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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

Learn to develop professional skills and build community at Café y Conversación

The bi-monthly series brings interaction and connection to Latino students at Sac State
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Jasmine Ascencio
The Serna Center’s Café y Conversación bi-monthly series returns for the fall semester. At each meeting, attendees receive different Latin lunch items and coffee. (Photos courtesy of Serna Center Instagram. Graphic made in Canva by Jasmine Ascencio)

Editor’s Note: The usage of Hispanic, Latino/a/e/x  and Chicano/a/e/x is in accordance with the preference and language of the sources and/or organizations included in this story.

For the first time in fall 2023, the Serna Center is set to host Café y Conversación, a series of events that bring Latinx students together to interact and connect.

Café y Conversación will meet twice a month in October and November to focus on career exploration and building community among Latinx students. During meetings, guest speakers of Latinx descent will be able to share their journey of their career paths.

Juana Zaragoza, Serna Center coordinator, said she started Café y Conversación sessions spring 2023 when she first became interim coordinator at the Serna Center.

“I’ve always known that a need for students is that mix between professional development and community building,” Zaragoza said.

Kaliyah Vernon, Serna Center program assistant, said the name Café y Conversación, gives students clarity that the series is a Latino space.

“Some people may want to engage in Spanish more and be amongst their community,” Vernon said. “In Latin culture, it’s normal that folks drink coffee in the morning with pan dulce and talk.”

Joel Padilla-Cuellar, a senior construction management student, said he thinks an event like Café y Conversación is important because it helps Latino students to speak Spanish.

“I think it’s important to build culture because many of us students are first-generation American born and each generation born in the U.S. is losing customs and values over time,” Padilla-Cuellar said.

Vernon said higher education can be hard without having a sense of community.

“These sessions are important because not only do you get to meet with folks in your community but you also get introduced to different career paths,” Vernon said.

Vernon said lunch items of different Latino cultures are provided during Café y Conversación meetings.

“We go around looking in Sacramento for different Latino food options,” Vernon said. “We’ve had empanadas, Caribbean patties, pupusas and tamales.”

Zaragoza said Café y Conversación offers an intimate setting where Latinx students can be with others who share similar identities.

“A lot of the time we see that Latinx students tend to not only just be first-generation students, but first-generation professionals as well,” Zaragoza said. “Exposure to different career paths and the different ways that people get on those paths is really important.”

Vernon said Erik Ramirez director of equity and affinity affairs and recent Ed.D graduate will be the guest speaker.

“I think he has a lot of testimony to share about what it means to be a Latino man in those positions of power,” Vernon said.

Vernon shared that other guest speakers for this semester’s Café y Conversación sessions are Sac State Community Partnership Coordinator Noel Mora, KCRA Emmy-nominated anchor/reporter Leticia Ordaz and Young Invincibles Engagement Coordinator Ruth Sosa Martinez.

Padilla-Cuellar said he would be interested in attending Café y Conversación to hear people of all different majors talk about their backgrounds.

“I think it will be a great resource to be able to network and receive support from other students,” Padilla-Cuellar said.

Café y Conversación has upcoming events on Oct. 4, Oct. 18, Nov. 8 and Nov. 29 from 3:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. at the Dolores Huerta Boardroom located in the Serna Center.

For more information about Café y Conversación and how to attend, click here.

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Madison Duong, DEI Staffer
(she/her) Madison Duong is a senior journalism major. This is her first semester on the State Hornet where she works with the DEI team. She loves all things storytelling and strives to share her creativity through various media mediums.
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