Cal Lutheran kicks off Latinx Heritage Month


File Photo

Paloma Vargas, director of HSI initiatives said Cal Lutheran HSI looks to serve not only Latinx students but “Black students, Indigenous students, and Asian, Pacific Islander students… whatever we create to support our Latinx community can also be used to support all these students that have been traditionally kept out of higher education.” Latinx Heritage Month events will be held through Oct. 15.

Zeyma Martinez

California Lutheran University is kicking off National Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSI) Week with a virtual Loteria game Tuesday, Sept. 15 at 6 p.m. on Zoom. 

“Even if you’ve never played Loteria your entire life, and you just want to see what it’s like, and you don’t want to participate, we are totally okay with that,” Paloma Vargas, director of HSI initiatives said.

Loteria is a traditional Mexican game, similar to bingo, that is played using images on a deck of cards. Every image corresponds to a spot on players’ boards.

All students are encouraged to attend the event and compete for bragging rights, just like a typical game of Loteria played within a family.

Throughout the week, Cal Lutheran’s HSI initiatives team will showcase Latinx leaders on their Instagram page.

Caeli Koizumi, executive assistant for the Office of Mission and Identity and intern for Cal Lutheran HSI initiatives, is curating content that will showcase Latinx artists, scientists and actors, as well as Latinx leaders within the Cal Lutheran community.

This weeks’ events will lead into Latinx Heritage Month, Sept. 15 through Oct. 15.

Cal Lutheran HSI will be hosting Cafecito on Instagram live throughout the month, where the team will lead conversations about current events with students, faculty, and the greater community. 

“[Student Life also has] a number of events planned for Latinx Heritage Month,” Nicole Gonzales, assistant director of Student Life said.

Cal Lutheran Student Life has partnered with Cal Lutheran HSI to bring back popular events like Paletas in the Park.

The outdoor event will take place Oct. 7 at 3:30 p.m. in Kingsmen Park. At the event, Vargas will hand out individually wrapped popsicles. The use of masks and social distancing will also be enforced to ensure safety for all attending.

The Center for Cultural Engagement and Inclusion (CCEI) will be hosting more top Latinx Heritage Month events, including Playlist in the Park, Trivia Night and The CCEI Curated Box. 

Cal Lutheran became an HSI in 2016 by meeting the U.S. Department of Education criteria that Hispanic students make up at least 25% of total enrollment.

The university, however, is still aiming to develop ways to better engage and serve the Latinx community at Cal Lutheran.

“We looked into leveraging our Hispanic servingness to not only focus on our Latinx students but also focus our attention on Black students, Indigenous students, and Asian, Pacific Islander students,” Vargas said. “That [way], whatever we create to support our Latinx community can also be used to support all these students that have been traditionally kept out of higher education.”

Koizumi has been working alongside Vargas to ensure there are more activities for all students.

“The power and impact of HSI calls us to be better for everyone,”  Koizumi said.

To get involved in HSI initiatives, students can contact Vargas at [email protected]. Students wishing to get involved in Culture & Justice Clubs can email Gonzales at [email protected].

This article has been updated to reflect that the virtual Loteria game will be held Sept. 15 . A previous version of the article said the game would be held Sept. 16.