The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month

Photo by Photo by Hanna Hausman

Elaine Mendoza, the vice chairman of the Texas A&M Board of Regents, spoke to the National Hispanic Institute about leadership development.

Hispanic Heritage Month is in full swing and Texas A&M organizations are hosting events to discuss issues, promote student involvement and celebrate Hispanic achievements.
According to the Hispanic Heritage Month U.S. government website, Hispanic Heritage week was officially recognized in 1968 and was expanded in 1988 to a full month starting Sept. 15 and ending Oct.15.
Mi Casa Es Su Casa, a program by MSC Committee for the Awareness of Mexican American Culture, or MSC CAMAC held its opening ceremony on Tuesday, Sept. 19. The program involves faculty members hosting students at their homes and conversing over a home-cooked meal.
Vanessa Carrizales, allied health junior and member of MSC CAMAC said Hispanics tend to create bonds over meal, which is where the idea for Mi Casa Es Su Casa stemmed from.
Carrizales said that when students attend Mi Casa Es Su Casa they may discover they share similar interests and ideas with faculty members, and that these dinners can help students interact with professors in the classroom.
As a student who comes from a predominantly Spanish-speaking community, Carrisalez said adjusting to A&M was tough as a freshman. She said she hopes Mi Casa Es Su Casa can create a support system by breaking the barrier between student and faculty.
Another event during this week of Hispanic Heritage Month was one on leadership development. The National Hispanic Institute at Texas A&M hosted Elaine Mendoza, vice chairman of Texas A&M Board of Regents.
A former student from the class of 1987 and a member of the committee on academic and student affairs for the Board of Regents, Mendoza said she is encouraged by enrollment of students of all diverse backgrounds.
Mendoza shared her story of how she eventually became CEO of Sevocity, an electronic health record company she began in 1990. Her main theme of the evening was how she and her team wanted to make a difference through technology. She explained the trials the team faced and how, without the team, the project may not have succeeded.
Mendoza explained to students that her company Sevocity combines the words “seven,” a term used to refer to the divine, and “velocity” to create “Godspeed.” She said this kind of personal inspiration is a reminder of why she is a leader. Mendoza said she wants the next generation of Latino student leaders to carve their own paths and focus on their goals.
“What’s important to you, needs to stay important to you,” Mendoza said. “It’s time to step it up.”
During the Sept. 20 meeting of the A&M Student Senate, a resolution was passed to recognize Hispanic Heritage Month and show appreciation for the contributions of former and current hispanic students. Presenting the resolution, Senator Luis Moreno, industrial engineering senior, listed the achievements of several notable hispanic Aggies, including Mendoza.
“We extend a thank you and a gratitude to all these former students who are Hispanic that came to our university and did so many great things here but also out in the world,” Moreno said.
Next week, the Carlos H. Cantu Hispanic Education and Opportunity Endowment will begin hosting its second annual lecture series that discusses Latinx issues including immigration, DACA, education in the Rio Grande Valley, the home of the endowment’s namesake, and more.
Coordinator for the event and doctoral candidate Apolonia Calderon said this lecture series is designed to not only display the issues in the Hispanic community but also celebrate the achievements. As a Rio Grande Valley native, Calderon said she wants Hispanic Texans to create their own identity while still taking pride in their ethnic heritage.
Calderon said she hopes that Aggies recognize the contributions made by many different ethnic backgrounds to Texas A&M.
“I hope it shows that Hispanics helped pioneer this university,” Calderon said.

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