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Looking back on Hispanic Heritage Month, the University's role in uplifting Latinx students' voices

Hispanic Heritage Month comes to a close for ASU-affiliated events, and with it comes the significance and impact the University leaves on the Latinx community


Fran Umstadter, Leticia Soto and Elisabeth Luquez greeting students during their book fair on campus in Tempe, Arizona on Thursday, Oct. 5, 2023.

As National Hispanic Heritage Month reaches its midway point, the University's devotion to providing a friendly environment to Hispanic students increases awareness for a community which comprises more than a quarter of its population. 

ASU's mission of being a "Hispanic Serving Institution" is "to reflect diverse identities," so that "we may learn from the broadest perspectives and engage with the most inclusive solutions possible," according to ASU’s HSI website.

READ MORE: ASU named a Hispanic-Serving Institution by US Department of Education

Hispanic Heritage Month, which lasts from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15, allows the University the opportunity to highlight the diaspora of the culture on campus and the Latinx community the opportunity to foster further connections across organizations.

"Regional Night: Latin America" was one of the first events to kick off the month on Sept. 22. 

Held in conjunction with USG Downtown, El Concilio and The Graduate and Professional Association, the law school's courtyard between the Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law and the Thunderbird School of Global Management was outfitted with food vendors, dancing, singing and other cultural activities.

University families and students were able to reflect on the meaning of Hispanic Heritage Month and the impact the University has had on the community through the displays of cultures from Mexico, Brazil and Columbia.

Meanwhile, inside the Thunderbird building, the space was flooded with cameras and students donning their respective cultures and talking amongst each other.

There are several clubs and organizations on campus that offer students the opportunity to work with members of the Hispanic community, like El Concilio. According to its University website, the organization seeks to "unite Latinx/Chicanx/Hispanic student organizations at ASU to represent our interests, needs and promote awareness of our culture within the ASU community."

READ MORE: ASU students celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month with collages on Latin American culture

"There's been a big difference in supporting and elevating the voices of Latino students," said Victoria Favela, a junior studying business law and co-facilitator of El Concilio. "And I think a big part of that is because of El Concilio and our member organizations that are continuously growing and aiming to include a variety of students at ASU."

According to Favela, El Concilio and the Hispanic community at ASU are "interconnected" and the organization's staff works across many coalitions.

"Specifically, within Hispanic Heritage Month at El Concilio, we have received extra funding to promote Hispanic heritage events, and we've gotten a lot of connections, especially after being listed as a Hispanic Serving Institution," Favela said. 

El Concilio has over two dozen clubs under its umbrella, including but not limited to the Hispanic Business Students Association, the Latino Architecture Student Organization, Los Diablos, Salsa Club and multiple Greek organizations. 

Citlalli Cardenas, a junior studying business and active member of Lambda Sigma Gamma, a multicultural-centered sorority on campus, said that for her the sorority has been about bonding moments with other members.

We all come from "different backgrounds, different homes, different childhoods we all lived" and "we were all able to come as one and make an organization work, make events, raise money for awareness, things like that," Cardenas said.

Other organizations include Mi Cultura, an organization dedicated to creating an environment in which all Latinx and Hispanic-identifying students can socialize, educate and represent their respective cultures on the ASU West Campus.

Mi Cultura member Fatima Botello, a senior studying psychology and Spanish literature, said the Latinx students who are enrolling in the University are taking on more and more leadership roles and creating representative spaces for the community.

"And ASU is supporting them widely, especially at the West campus," Botello said. 

ASU earned a Seal of Excelencia in 2019 which was renewed for 2022-2025, a certification dedicated to colleges that have a high level of commitment to the Latinx community. ASU President Michael Crow also serves in the network of Presidents for Latino Student Success. 

Edited by Grey Gartin, Sadie Buggle and Caera Learmonth.

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