The Brew transformed from a coffee shop into a museum of Hispanic arts and history last night. Oklahoma Christian University senior Rocio Aguayo created the event “Celebracion” to commemorate Hispanic Heritage Month, which ran from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15.
Students had the opportunity to watch the Pixar movie “Coco” while trying a variety of Hispanic foods and desserts at the Kudo-approved event.
“Around the walls of the Brew, there were framed images of pictures from students who have gone to Hispanic countries before,” Aguayo said. “Each frame had a factual card with the origin of that place and an explanation of why that place celebrates this month just to inform people.”
According to Aguayo, she encouraged students and faculty to attend to event to get a better understanding of Hispanic culture and how it pertains to all students at Oklahoma Christian.
“I think it’s important for students and faculty to come,” Aguayo said prior to the event. “Even if people leave and become aware there is an entire month dedicated to Hispanic culture, that alone will be enough for me. Another initiative for them to be here is [they’re] not only being emerged and involved in another cultural setting, but [they’re] also able to learn about it.”
The Student Government Association (SGA) sponsored the event by providing food and decorations. Multicultural Committee Chair Thomas Caldwell said he wanted students to attend the event to culturally educate themselves about Hispanic heritage.
“Really, it’s just a celebration of Hispanic heritage and also gets people more involved to learn about Hispanic culture,” Caldwell said. “I think how the social climate is now, with [President Donald] Trump being elected, people are kind of hostile or wary of Hispanic people. I think it’s good for people to learn more about Hispanic culture and also be connected with how things are now.”
Though Oklahoma Christian has a Latino Student Services and Outreach (LASSO) organization on campus, Aguayo said she wishes the organization would do more around campus.
“Just supporting and encouraging Hispanic students to like their culture and share it on campus is important,” Aguayo said. “A lot of people don’t know how many Hispanic students we have, or even international students. A lot of our athletes are international and because they are associated with their sport, they get kind of left out.”
After writing a guest editorial for the Talon earlier this month, Aguayo said she became inspired to take action and create a Hispanic Heritage Month event on campus.
“As I was writing it at first, I was annoyed,” Aguayo said. “But, as I thought about it, I was like, ‘Well, if no one does anything because they don’t know they should do anything, whose responsibility is that? It’s the Hispanic population at school.’ I am a Mexican-American student, and my family loves our culture. This is my fourth year here and I’ve never seen anything done. I’ve always complained about it, but it’s time to stop complaining and start taking an action and hopefully leave a trace for other students to get involved.”
Aguayo said she encourages every student to take action about something they are passionate about—especially when it comes to race.
“I just hoped people would come out, even if it’s just for fun, and that they left with a better awareness not only of Oklahoma Christian and its community, but also of the world,” Aguayo said. “We tend to come to Oklahoma Christian and have this bubble, which is fine, but there’s a world outside and when you leave, how do people view culture? That’s why racism is still very alive and prominent.”