by MEGAN DREHER & LAUREN SCHUSTER, Features Editor & Asst. Features Editor
A night of food, music and dancing brought students of all backgrounds together on Friday night as they celebrated Fuerza Latina’s annual Latinx Fest.
Latinx Fest is done in conjunction with Student Engagement to celebrate the end of Hispanic Heritage Month. Using three major elements of the culture: food, music and dancing, students joined in a festive celebration.
“We want to celebrate Latino heritage, but also make it accessible and open to everybody and highlight our culture,” said Gabby Montes, junior board member of Fuerza Latina.
The students on the board for Fuerza Latina know that time and effort go into preparing for an event such as this. In addition to planning the food for the event and spreading the word about the event, the music for the night needs careful consideration. Playing a mix of new music as well as music that is true to the Latino culture makes for a blend that is enjoyable for all who attend.
“I hope students learn that our culture is very fun and inviting,” says Anna Rosario, also a junior board member of Fuerza Latina.
Latinx Fest has been occuring at MC for as long as Montes and Rosario have attended the college. Both students can agree on the importance of sharing Latino culture on Manhattan’s campus.
“Being able to bring a little bit of our culture on to campus is so vital, especially being in New York City where we’re a melting pot of all different types of nationalities and cultures,” said Rosario.
“This is my culture, my family, it’s who I am. It’s nice to be able to celebrate that on campus as well as in the world,” said Montes.
Senior student Sofia Tollinche attended Latinx Fest for the first time this year.
“It really feels like home,” Tollinche said. “This is like the music we dance to back home, and it’s sort of a space where I can sing along, dance, and have fun and it’s just a little piece of home.”
Tollinche was glad to have to opportunity to be a part of sharing Latinx culture with her peers on campus.
“I think it’s important to expose people to what other people do for fun,” Tollinche said. “This is an event, again, where you come to not only dance but to eat too, so you’re exposing other students on campus that might not be familiar with what Latinx culture is. So they get to experience our food, our music, and they also get to express themselves kind of in a new space, and I think it’s just important for them to know.”
Junior student Christopher Santiago was excited to hear that Latinx Fest was returning to campus, giving him another chance to enjoy his culture’s food and music with his friends.
“I attended last year and the year before when I was a freshman and I love this event so much, I always come,” Santiago said.
Santiago expressed the importance of bringing Latinx culture to campus through this event, stressing inclusivity.
“[Latinx Fest] is one of the only nights where they really celebrate Hispanic culture [at MC],” Santiago said. “I’m Afro-Latino so I’m from African descent, but I’m Dominican, so this is something that really makes me feel included in the community at Manhattan, so that definitely drove me to come here.”