By Rocio Aguayo
September 15 through October 15 is Hispanic Heritage Month, yet the hard truth is there is minimal awareness of the Hispanic culture on Oklahoma Christian University’s campus.
Hispanic Heritage Month is similar to many different cultural celebrations Oklahoma Christian acknowledges, such as Black History Month when the university hosts an annual event called History Speaks. During this time, they bring in various speakers connected to the Civil Rights movement and host events to increase awareness. They do an excellent job each year, and I would love to see a similar approach for Hispanics.
While it could be they are not sure how to go about finding the right people to begin this change, my question is: why is no one at Oklahoma Christian doing anything to create awareness of Hispanic Heritage Month?
Personally, this is very discouraging as a Mexican-American student. My own campus, where I should feel at “home,” is not aware of my culture. Perhaps the responsibility of bringing awareness falls upon a student-led organization. A few days ago, I learned we have an organization called the Latin American Student Organization (LASO). This surprised me and made me think of a new question: why had I not heard of them before?
The LASO is unsuccessful in making the campus aware of their events, and they are not gaining much support from Oklahoma Christian’s faculty. For those reasons, I was not aware of their existence, but, bringing Hispanic awareness to campus should not fall solely on the LASO.
While I believe students should wholeheartedly lead the charge in LASO, our campus community still needs to help them. By encouraging LASO students to thrive in keeping our community aware, involved and interested in the Hispanic culture in general, as well as the population, represented on campus, students will help Oklahoma Christian’s mission of making campus “home” for all of its students. Encouragement from Oklahoma Christian to the student population and LASO group will provide the spark this community is missing. Anyone can develop and get support for something they are passionate about.
At The University of Central Oklahoma, their office of diversity and inclusion began hosting events to bring awareness about Hispanic Heritage month to their campus, which is something I also expect my campus to be doing. If our campus cannot provide events, then they should at the very least promote local outside activities. This alone would help the campus be aware in the smallest way with the potential of creating a bigger impact on students’ lives. Personally, it could have made a huge impact on my life.
By creating these events, bringing in speakers or even advertising other campuses’ events, Oklahoma Christian can create a bubble of inclusion and worldly knowledge without traveling, while providing a unique time of year for students to engage in.
Not only would Hispanic students on campus appreciate the celebration of their culture, but I believe all students would benefit from being more culturally aware. Being able to learn about different cultures on campus would create a sense of the community I know Oklahoma Christian strives to do. Join me, a Mexican-American student at Oklahoma Christian, and together, let’s celebrate the last days of Hispanic Heritage Month.
To raise awareness for Hispanic Heritage Month, Aguayo has helped put together a Celebration of Culture event in the Brew. On Oct. 15 from 7-9 p.m., students are invited to a night filled with facts about Hispanic Heritage Month and light snacks, as well as the opportunity to win a Brew gift card for arriving in the “Best Traditional/Appropriate Attire” or an authentic taco dinner for the “Most Creative Social Media Post” about the event. Those interested should contact Aguayo for more information. The event is Ethos approved.