By Andy Espinoza
On Thursday, Nov. 11, Shenandoah University held its annual Latin Art Night, an event dedicated to painting and learning about the different art styles used throughout Latin American history. The event was held at the Brandt Student Center by Estudiantes Unidos, a student-led organization dedicated to promoting Latinx heritage through cultural & educational events on campus.
Throughout the night, students came to the Ferrari room and created their own artworks while listening to Latin-inspired music, drinking hot chocolate, and eating Concha, a traditional sweet bread from Mexico.
“We are open to everyone,” said Valeria Hernandez-Cervantes, treasurer of Estudiantes Unidos. Valeria, a sophomore student, joined Estudiantes Unidos during the pandemic. To her, this feels like her first year as part of the group. “I like events like these because even if we just fill up one table we can still have fun.”
Cultural events like Latin Art Night can encourage students to discover other traditions, but to Natalie Aburto, events like these bring her a sigh of relief. Born to Nicaraguan parents, Natalie started at Shenandoah this year to study Music Therapy. She often finds herself living a double life.
“At home, my family speaks Spanish nonstop, but here I speak English all day. It can be hard balancing that.” Natalie came to the event after hearing about it from some friends. She started following the Estudiantes Unidos instagram page since then.
“It’s important to maintain that heritage,” said Natalie. As a nonnative Spanish speaker, she occasionally struggles to keep up with her roots, but she persists. “There’s no point in trying to get rid of it. You can not forget this part of you.”
Estudiantes Unidos will be holding more events throughout the semester. If you’d like to hear more about them, check out their Instagram page, @latinxsu.