Biola community celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month

The Hispanic Conference and Fiesta Latina festivities honor Latin nations represented on campus.


Thecla Li//THE CHIMES (file)

Fiesta Latina celebrates Hispanic culture through song and dance.

Dalet Valles, News Editor

Hispanic Heritage Month began on Sept. 15, and Biola has made an effort at honoring all the diverse Latin countries represented on campus. Each year, Biola has celebrated this month from Sept. 15–Oct. 15. 

“Each year we observe National Hispanic Heritage Month from Sept. 15–Oct. 15 by celebrating the histories, cultures and contributions of those whose ancestors come from Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Columbia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Puerto Rico, Uruguay and Venezuela,” said Erika Sanchez, director of Hispanic Services for the Division of Diversity and Inclusion. 


On Sept. 22, Biolans who attended Fiesta Latina experienced Latin culture by listening to music, learning how to dance bachata and tasting the flavors of typical dishes from many Latin countries. Alumnus Julio de Paz Jr. joined the celebration by bringing a selection of music for a section of the event. This event was a way for students, faculty, staff and even alumni to celebrate the culture. 

“I loved Fiesta Latina,” senior public relations major Camille Ledoux said. “Two of my housemates are Latina and seeing them react to the event as a whole and then sharing with us how they have done the same things with their families was awesome.” 

Fiesta Latina is a campus tradition hosted by the Office of Campus Engagement in partnership with Unidos, the student club, and the Division of Diversity and Inclusion. 


Biola’s 43rd Hispanic Conference took place on Sept. 24, providing a nearly-complete Spanish program with the exception of two workshops given by Sanchez and Arianna Molloy, professor of communication studies. The keynote speaker for this year’s conference was Dr. Lucas Leys, a best-selling author in the Spanish-speaking world. 

The conference hosted many representatives from many denominations, institutions and pastoral alliances, a community of pastors who collaborate to grow their churches. They traveled from all around California, and a few from out of state — representing different size from small churches to megachurches. 

The conference was a community contribution with around 40 volunteers and many faculty including Oscar Merlo, director of the Center for the Study of the Work and Ministry of the Holy Spirit Today, Dr. Orbelina Escobar, professor of Christian higher education, Dr. Octavio Esqueda, professor of Christian higher education, Krista Ashlock, administrative assistant for the Center for the Study of the Work and Ministry of the Holy Spirit Today, and Sophia Trevino. This event drew around 500 attendees. 


As Hispanic Heritage Month continues, Unidos will host a Talent Show Night on Sept. 28 in the Mosaic Cultural Center. The Department of Modern Languages will round off the month on Oct.13 with a Spanish chapel held in Sutherland Auditorium. Dr. Artemiza Hernandez, professor of modern languages, will direct this event as she does all other Spanish chapels.

Sanchez shared that Biola now has memberships with the Hispanic Association of Colleges & Universities, Excelencia in Education and the Alliance for Hispanic Serving Institution Educators

“It is my honor to be able to collaborate with so many across campus to be able to highlight and celebrate the heritage of many students, faculty and staff,” said Sanchez.

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