Hispanic Heritage Week


Photo Credit: springfielddowntown.com

Anna Fisher – News Writer

The Association of Latin American Students (ALAS) hosted 4 virtual events to celebrate Hispanic Heritage last week. To adapt to current structures, the events were “pure Zoom,” as stated by ALAS President Jennifer Castañeda.  

On Sept. 16, ALAS and the Black Student Union hosted Dr. Vanessa Maria Nepomuceno, a postdoctoral associate, at the University of Mass. Medical School.

“As a Black Latino woman, Nepomuceno related to many current challenges students of color have,” said Castañeda.

Other events included a Lotería and a Kahoot with facts about Latin American countries as well as humorous references “to make students laugh,” continued Castañeda, “like things our parents would say” and further nods to shared experiences.

For its members, ALAS provides a way to be supported, said Castañeda, “‘Alas’ directly translated means ‘wings’ and I think that’s such a beautiful meaning,” she stated. While ALAS members come from diverse cultures, they can “embrace each other under the same wings, that support system,”

ALAS Secretary and PR student Natalie Figueroa added that ALAS gives her opportunities to relate and learn, creating a place where she knows she’s “not speaking to four walls.” Figueroa sees ALAS as a source of empowerment with potential to strengthen other communities.

To continue celebrating National Hispanic Heritage Month, which goes until Oct. 15, ALAS will have a virtual tour of Hispanic art Oct. 7 from 12:20-1:20 with Theresa Parker, Curator of Exhibitions and the University Art Gallery.

Updates on ALAS events, such as activities for Día de los Muertos, an alumni panel, and monthly meetings can be found on instagram.com/benualas/.