Loras Intercultural Programs Office expanding cultural offerings for students
Diversity and inclusion are important at Loras College and the inaugural
Tri-College Latino Social is a good example. The event, which included Loras, the University of Dubuque and Clarke University, took place on Sept. 20 at The Smokestack in downtown Dubuque and attracted an estimated total of 120 guests. Although the event’s theme centered on Latino cultures in celebration of Latinx Heritage Month, any and all students and faculty from the three institutions were welcome to attend. The event was organized and sponsored by each college’s intercultural program as well as the Multicultural Family Center in Dubuque.
According to Sergio Perez (’13), Director of Intercultural Programs, the goal of the event was to “bridge connections between [the] Latino students from all three institutions.This event was a great opportunity not only to celebrate Hispanic heritage, but to bring students and faculty together and create new relationships, all while having a great time.”
This was a unique experience for Rodrigo Espino (’21), who said, “Meeting people from the other two colleges was great, as I would not normally get to make friendships with those who do not attend Loras.”
Loras College continued to set new firsts during Latinx Heritage Month. On Oct. 6, the first-ever Latino Heritage Night was held at the Rock Bowl Stadium during both the men’s and women’s soccer games. The event was made possible through the longstanding collaboration of Perez; Jimmy Naprstek (’13), Director of Athletic Communications; Dan Rothert (’96), Loras Men’s Soccer’s Head Coach; and Denise (Bodensteiner) Udelhofen (’90), Director of Athletics.
The increase in Hispanic student-athletes on the Loras soccer teams in the last two years helped make this the perfect time to turn the idea of Latino Heritage Night into a reality. Perez and the many students involved in the IPO spent several weeks developing ideas on how to make the much-anticipated event special. Latino flags were displayed on both sidelines, and Latino music was played on the PA system throughout the night. Vuvuzela horns, “Somos Duhawks” (translated to “We are Duhawks”) T-shirts and chicken and steak tacos from El Paisano, a Dubuque restaurant, were distributed to the fans.
It was also an historic night for the Duhawk Broadcast Network, as the men’s varsity match was called in Spanish, making it the first-ever Spanish broadcast in Loras history. Tony Diaz (’21) and Jorge “The Rocket” Ramirez (’21), both Duhawks of Colombian heritage, had the privilege to be a part of the broadcast.
To build on the successes of Latino Heritage Night and the Tri-College Latino Social, the IPO plans on hosting more events that bridge the gaps for Hispanic students on the Loras campus and in Dubuque.
According to Perez, “These events have had success in showing that Latino student heritage is important and is a good way to build community between everyone on campus.