Photos and story by Angele Latham / Contributing Writer
Students gathered in the Student Union Thursday night for the fiesta of the semester: the annual MTSU Hispanic Cultural Night. In contrast to the dark and dreary weather outside, the atmosphere inside was colorful and teeming with life as students and families alike took part in appreciating Hispanic heritage.
Organized by MTSU Intercultural and Diversity Affairs, the event marks the largest celebration on MTSU’s campus for National Hispanic Heritage Month, which runs from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15.
The celebration began with a procession of students representing the national flags of their heritage and was followed by a wide array of traditional dancers, each displaying the many aspects of Hispanic culture. From feathered headdresses to billowing skirts, the exhibit of vibrant societies gave an impressive homage to students’ heritage. And with the addition of free traditional food like Mexican rice, tamales, refried beans and an extensive collection of sweets, students were sure to be appreciative.
“This is one of our biggest events,” said Elman Gonzalez, the president of La Comunidad, a Hispanic-based organization focused on community service. “We give out food of different varieties to showcase the Hispanic culture through food, and then we have all the dances and stuff of the different cultures. So it’s basically just a big cultural celebration to showcases to students, ‘Hey, this is how diverse the Hispanic culture is, and this is what true Hispanic culture is.’ I feel like we don’t get the authentic side of our culture in media.”
Students got a hands-on taste of true Hispanic culture at the end of the evening when they were welcomed to join the dancers on the floor and show off their best salsa-dancing skills. Whether they were successful or not is up to them, but the fact remains- Hispanic culture will never be without a home on MTSU’s campus.
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