Campus Celebrity: La Hispanidad Club

Name: La Hispanidad Club

Presidents: Manuela Contreras and Christian Colon

What inspired you guys to start La Hispanidad? 

Christian:

Well, I decided to join La Hispanidad my freshman year at SHU. The club was going through a really tough time and resulted in them not having an E-board, and I was later given the presidency. While working as an orientation leader I met Manuela and I basically forced her to help me out. I knew she was Latina and how involved she was, so I just needed her in the club. 

Manuela:

I have always been very proud of my Latin Heritage so, when Christian asked me to help him with La Hispanidad I was more than thrilled! Together we combined the love we have for our culture and used it to find a way to share it with the Sacred Heart Community. One of the most beautiful parts of this group has not only been meeting other Latinos but also meeting other students from all different cultures! 

What are your roles in this club and on campus in general? 

Both:

We are both the Co-Presidents for La Hispanidad. We work with our E-Board as a team to come up with events that coincide with our mission. This semester we built from the ground up and could not be happier to be working with a strong group of student leaders! Everyone comes together in our general meetings and shares experiences not only from their Latin American culture but also from all different backgrounds. Our goal is show others the beauty of all our countries and why it means so much to us. All of our events have a purpose with a fun attribute. As Co-Presidents we are always talking about how happy and lucky we are for everything we have been able to do this semester, all of thanks to our amazing E-Board and members! 

What are your nationalities/where are your families from?

Christian:

Although I wasn't born there, my family and I are from Puerto Rico. My first language is Spanish because I moved there when I was a few months old, but I eventually came back to the US after about 5 years. 

Manuela:

I was born in Bogota, Colombia and came here at age 5. I am fortunate to have a family that shared so much about our culture when I was growing up. Spanish is my first language and I love it!  Much of my family still resides in Colombia and all of us are 100% Colombian (just as good or even better than the coffee haha)! I spend as many breaks as I can with my grandparents and all my family there. It is exciting to have so many memories growing up in Colombia and constantly building more. 

How has your involvement in this club changed your experience at SHU? 

Christian:

Honestly my Puerto Rican culture is the most important part of my identity, I am proud to say I am Latino. This club has given me the opportunity to share my culture with the whole community. I never really talked about my culture in college until I started meeting with our club. We all come together in a classroom and treat each other like family. 

Manuela:

Being involved in La Hispanidad has truly opened my eyes to a whole other part of this university. I am very proud of being Latina and being Colombian is a huge part of who I am. In our country today Latin Americans carry a stigma and as a Colombian I have encountered many stereotypes. Every culture has history but its who's making the future that matters. La Hispanidad has given us an opportunity to put a face to all the rumors and stories people may hear. We are proud, amazing Latinos who are excited to show others the truth and the beauty of our culture. As a welcoming Sacred Heart community we hope to get support and open students' minds.  

What are some events that La Hispanidad does on campus?

Both:  

Over the past few months we have planned a lot of events for the Sacred Heart community. We started off the year with Salsa Night. It was a successful night outside 63's patio where students learned how to dance salsa. We had two instructors come in and teach anyone who came by how to dance. It was a great turnout. Our second event was a colloquium we did in December where we brought the founder and director of Border Angels, Erique Morones, an organization from the California-Mexico border, to speak to over 100 students on how hard it is for immigrants to reach that American dream. Throughout the year we also volunteer with a local Multi-Cultural middle school by making holiday parties and other activities. This semester we have a couple events coming up such as a "Salsa, Guacamole and Chips Night" at Holy Grounds on March 31st from 8 to 9:30, and bonding events. Our general meetings are bi-weekly on Wednesday in UC110 at 8pm. Our big project this semester is Social Justice Week, we hope to bring awareness to social justice regarding equality among race, gender, culture, politics, etc. Social Justice is a prominent topic not just on our campus but on campuses all through the country. We are creating an event where people can feel welcomed to share their stories. Many organizations are interested in collaborating with us, so we are hoping to make this a campus-wide campaign. 

What do you guys want to tell students about La Hispanidad?

Both:

La Hispanidad has been a way to bring together students who are excited to share their stories, traditions and customs from Latin America. La Hispanidad's mission is to provide a place where students can reconnect or stay connected to their Latino heritage. We aim to share the richness of our culture with the Sacred Heart community by hosting campus wide events. Providing service to the Latino Bridgeport Community, while Fundraising to support local charities. Our club is not necessarily for Latinos only. Anyone is welcomed to join. Our club is composed of students from all over. Whoever is interested in learning about the Latino culture, stop by! We truly have become a great family with amazing people. 

How do you think this club will help you in your future endeavors?  

Christian:

My dream job is to be a Spanish/English news correspondent for a news network like ABC or Univision. Over the past few years I have managed to intern at Univision, News Channel 8 and I am currently at ABC News in NYC. My goal is to be the voice of the people and I can honestly say that I will definitely be the voice of my Latino brothers and sisters .This club made me appreciate my culture more. People tend to listen to what society has to say and not stand up for what they believe in, especially when it comes  to our identity. This club has given me the force to make my dream come true. 

Manuela:

My true passion and drive comes from giving back and helping others. I have been fortunate to work with two incredible Non-Profit Foundations such as: the Rise and Walk  Foundation as their Service Trip Coordinator to Bogota, Colombia and Make-A-Wish Foundation of Connecticut as an Intern but also now as a Wish Granter. I know people are constantly battling their own fights all over the world but I believe there is always a hope for change and happiness. I hope to one day work with underdeveloped communities in third world countries to make a difference in the lives of families struggling to find peace.