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Student Diversity Board celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month

The Student Diversity Board (SDB) at Saint Mary’s is acknowledging Hispanic Heritage Month for the third year from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15 by spotlighting diverse Latin American countries once a week at tables in the Saint Mary’s student center.

For the first of the month’s tabling events, SDB handed out Honduran caramel and mango candies to celebrate the country, senior and president of SDB Crystal Ramirez said.

{Editor’s note: Crystal Ramirez is a former associate news editor for The Observer.}

The events have been “really successful, students are often intrigued by what we have there since it’s usually something you can eat or try,” she said. “It’s really informal. Anyone’s allowed to stop by and grab a treat for you and your friend.”

The month, Ramirez said, celebrates the students at Saint Mary’s who identify as Latina in any way.

“In order for us to kind of celebrate that and foster that community here, this is something that we do that is simple but that’s fun and interactive,” she said.

Sophomore and vice president of SDB Anais Juliano said Latino-Americans are actively contributing to growing American diversity and SDB hopes to take part in the national conversation of “uplifting people who came from these Latino-American countries.”

The United States, Juliano said, is unique for fostering celebrations like Hispanic Heritage Month.

“That’s something about the United States that I like, that we do that,” she said.

But Juliano added that the tri-campus, composed of predominantly white institutions (PWIs), has an added need for community building among Latino students. 

“We like doing this. I think it builds some more community where community has lacked over the years,” she said. “Especially given that at Saint Mary’s, Notre Dame and Holy Cross, all PWIs, it can be a little daunting coming to school knowing that you’re kind of all by yourself.”

Ramirez said the celebration is a part of the board’s larger purpose on campus and is something they have begun to look forward to every year. 

“I’ve definitely seen its impact in the growth [the Latina] population has had here at Saint Mary’s,” Ramirez said. “But we really just do it because it’s our mission as this Student Diversity Board to celebrate, to advocate and to educate on our diverse student body.”

Juliano said the support is effective.

“Knowing that there’s like a whole group of people that want to celebrate you, I think that is the best part of SDB and the best part of Saint Mary’s, that people want to applaud who you are,” she said.

A fun activity SDB is planning for the month, Juliano said, involves spin-cycle classes.

“We’re doing a Hispanic Heritage Month spin-cycle class here at Saint Mary’s, where we put on Latin-American artists.”

Ramirez said SDB is still planning with Saint Mary’s “Period Project” and other tri-campus groups to host events before the end of the month. 

An upcoming tri-campus event will be the month’s largest, Ramirez said. Working with Notre Dame’s Latino Student Alliance, the event will help the tri-campus “to really come together, build community and celebrate all of our Latinx students across the tri-campus,” she added.

Contact Liam Price at lprice3@nd.edu.

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