Author: Hannah Petty
When it comes to culture we often take into consideration our own personal identity. Each country has a culture all its own. Whether it involves clinking drinks in Germany before you take your first sip, greeting people with a kiss in Spain, or preparing a 3-course meal every night in France. Here in the United States, we are lucky to be able to experience more than just one singular culture. Our culture is a combined one, our culture is collective.
The University of Nebraska-Lincoln is a school that promotes the differences between its students. Student organizations such as the Mexican American Student Association (MASA), bring to campus cultures from our Spanish speaking neighbors and allow other students to share in their traditions.
In honor of Hispanic Heritage month, which goes from September 15 to October 15, a member of MASA was able to sit down with me and share how he and MASA celebrate this month. UNL junior and MASA president, Alejandro Rodriguez, plays a big part in bringing Mexican culture to campus.
Collective Culture: Outside of MASA what are some ways you celebrate your heritage?
Alejandro Rodriguez: Every year my family and I travel to Mexico for Christmas to spend it with my grandparents.
CC: Is this where your parents grew up?
AR: Yes, so it’s nice to go there and see where they spent their time.
CC: Are there any special foods they you enjoy?
AR: I love tamales. They’re nice to have in the winter since they are nice and warm. Another favorite of mine is pan dulce. It’s sweet and usually placed on ofrendas for El Dia de Los Muertos.
CC: Are there certain styles of music or songs that you like to listen to that represent your heritage?
AR: I try to have as much Hispanic influence in my life as I can, but I also it is good for everyone to have a variety, that way we can all experience each other’s culture.
Alejandro tells us the importance of this month and exactly why MASA holds the events they do: “Hispanic Heritage month is to celebrate all the contributions Latinos have made to the United States of America, and about how Latinos have changed the US”.
Over the years, MASA has always held several events throughout the month. On Wednesday, October 10th, from 5:30pm-8pm on the Union Plaza, MASA will be holding their final event to finish off Hispanic Heritage month. The festival, Latino Art Now!, will feature several pieces of artwork from Latino artists, and performances by musical groups such as Histrionic and poets such as Angel Garcia. This is your chance to share in the culture and accomplishments of Latinos. Alejandro would like readers to know everyone is welcome to join MASA, even those without Hispanic heritage. MASA believes that while it is important to celebrate in the accomplishments of your own heritage, we shouldn’t forget to share in the culture of others.
CC: Finally, is there anything you’d like our readers to know?
AR: I want people to know that MASA is inclusive and people from all backgrounds are welcome to join or sit in on meetings.
The Mexican American Student Association meets every Wednesday from 5:30pm-7:00pm in the Unity room inside the Jackie Gaughan Multicultural Center.