Fuerza Latina and Omega Phi Beta hosted several events to educate on cultural richness and differences.
Ethan Babcock, Special Assignment Reporter
Hispanic Heritage month is an important and celebrated time at Utica College.
The college celebrates Hispanic Heritage month every year from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15, with activities throughout campus and Fuerza Latina celebrating in style.
Roughly 10% of the student population at Utica College is Hispanic.
The Omega Phi Beta sorority recently hosted a presentation titled “The difference between Latina(o), Hispanic and Spanish,” which provided some insight and education into the cultural differences of these vast groups and what makes them unique from each other.
The presentation concluded that the main difference between these groups is culture and area or origin. For example, Spanish people are ultimately from Spain or their family originates from Spain, while Latino people are originally descended from Latin America.
Hispanic is different in that they speak Spanish and are originally from Spanish-speaking populations.
Sophomore and health studies major Celeste Gonzalez was one of two presenters in the educational presentation. Hispanic Heritage month is very important to her and gives her the opportunity to express her passion for her roots and inform people on something they may be unfamiliar with.
“People don’t always know the difference between Latino, Hispanic and Spanish,” she said. “We had the opportunity to inform the students by giving people a taste of what it means to be Hispanic with the food, music and traditions we have.”
Hispanic Heritage Month is a time where Hispanic people can embrace their heritage and share it with others, and that is why Gonzalez said they put on events to honor Hispanic Heritage Month.
“I would suggest people go to the resturants Mi Casa or El Barajo if they want to experience really good Spanish food and to come to Fuerza Latina to receive a little flavor of [Hispanic culture] and have fun,” she said.
Fuerza Latina is a student organization here at Utica College that explores a common “need to share rich Latino/a heritage.” This type of organization joins men and women (brothers and sisters) of a Hispanic background in a mutual bond according to their pioneer place.
Sophomore Linnea Cotto-Ecklund is a psychology child life major and member of Fuerza Latina, who is very proud to be of Hispanic descent and looks forward to the events put on by Fuerza Latina to celebrate the month.
“I believe it is important to share traditions from Hispanic culture that many people who live in the United States came from,” she said.
The month is meaningful to her because it gives her the opportunity to share the importance of culture from her ancestors and the people she loves with others.
“I would recommend going to the meetings and events put on by Fuerza Latina because they work very hard to showcase Hispanic culture… and that is what I will be doing to celebrate,” she said.
The City of Utica hosts many Hispanic and Latino events to promote the culture as well. They recently held the 14th Annual “Latino American Festival” in Hanna Park to showcase local Hispanic culture in August. This event is put on by the Mohawk Valley Latino Association (MVLA) and is free to attend.
The MVLA is hosting a Hispanic Heritage Gala on Oct. 25, at the Delta Marriott Hotel in Utica. For more information on this and other events by MVLA check out their website mvlautica.org. For cultural events around the college, visit the Office of Student Living and College Engagement or visit www.utica.edu to view the variety of clubs and organizations offered at UC.