La Entrada en Monterey Bay

During the third week of the semester and Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI) week at California State University, Monterey Bay (CSUMB), new students are still settling in. A large part of settling in is through finding those who welcome you – developing your community. Last Friday, Sept. 8, a multitude of students (at least 25) gathered in the main quad for just that, community.

Person serving themselves food from a metal food tray.

Any student was welcomed at this event, many attending with different mindsets. When asked about her reason for coming, Derelim Bautista, a third-year student, said, “Free food! And, I wanted to meet other people. I feel like it’s important to establish something for people to have a sense of belonging, and they could also socialize because school’s stressful and it’s important to make connections.” 

Coordinators of this event offered different types of tamales (pork, chicken, vegetable), paleta candies and sweet horchata for the sunny afternoon. “I think it’s very important to bring the aspect of diversity and unity onto our campus; I feel like that makes us a stronger campus as a whole,” said Corina Rodriguez, the El Centro student coordinator.

“Also just connecting with fellow students, making new friends, meeting the staff – that’s very important as well. I think [feeling empowered by] pursuing a higher education is important to a lot of students,” said Rodriguez.

Considering how this event took place during Hispanic Heritage Month, La Entrada was a celebration of diversity and Hispanic culture within our university. 

“I was walking by and I saw the free tamales and horchata and I saw the little flags. My family is from Guatemala, both of my parents are Guatemalan, and that’s the first time I’ve seen a Guatemalan flag here on campus,” said Bryan Pablo, a first-year student. “Seeing that, it kind of hit hard, because I haven’t seen my parents in a while. That and the free food and events, I [feel] a sense of belonging, I guess.”

Three people standing at a tall round table eating.

One activity that stood out at this event was a “letter to self,” where students could write themselves letters which would return to them by the end of the school year. In regards to future activities, Rodriguez elaborated on an event to look forward to during the coming week. 

“El Centro is gonna be working with the Cooperative Learning Center (CLC) throughout the semesters and for the years to come, hopefully. The CLC’s actually hosting an event for Hispanic Heritage Month and it’s gonna be on Tuesday, Sept. 12 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. They’ll have free breakfast, coffee and conchas and [it will be] a good place to learn about resources on campus.” 

Here’s to a prosperous Hispanic Heritage Month!

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