Simpson College celebrates Mexican Independence Day


by Belle Ward, Features Editor

Simpson College students and faculty celebrated Mexican Independence Day with a celebration on Sept. 18 for the multicultural program’s first Hispanic Heritage month event.

The celebration took place on the patio outside of Smith Chapel and featured music, dancing and a variety of food.

Walter Lain, assistant dean of multicultural and international student affairs, said this is the third year Simpson has celebrated Mexican Independence Day.

“We’re trying to create events that foster community among various groups on campus,” Lain said.

“The biggest thing that we want students to do is to educate all of us about various cultures, so that people at Simpson can be more knowledgeable about the world in which we live,” Lain added.

Natalia Rose, the undergraduate assistant for the multicultural program, began this position at the beginning of the semester.

“I think it is really important to learn what makes up other people’s backgrounds,” Rose said. “The way I see it is that all of your experiences shape who you are.”

During the celebration, students in attendance broke a piñata full of candy.

“There’s this genuine giddiness to doing something so interactive with other people,” Rose said. “And maybe you don’t know all of their names, and you won’t see them until the next event, but for such a short amount of time, you really feel like you are a part of something grand.”

Lain said it is important for the campus community to be educated about different cultures, identities and global efforts that impact students.

“They should be able to experience these kinds of things right here on campus,” he said.

Jonathan Camacho, a sophomore from Mexico majoring in global management, attended the celebration. Camacho said that as an international student, he enjoys honoring cultures other than his own through events focused on cultures around the world.

“These beliefs and these traditions are probably not the same, but you can still celebrate with other cultures,” Camacho said.

Kelley Schwartz, a junior elementary education major, attended the event because she knew the students hosting it, and she wanted to celebrate those students’ cultures with them.

“We don’t live in a bubble,” she said, adding that because there are students from all over the world at Simpson, their cultures should not be ignored.

Lain said the number of students of Hispanic or Latino background seems to be increasing on campus and will likely continue to do so. Events such as the Mexican Independence Day celebration will help to welcome students and their cultures.

“We can certainly celebrate and respect other cultures without fear of diluting our own, so to speak,” Lain said.

Rose said when they participated in the freshman move-in with fraternity and sorority life, they were excited to see more diversity on campus. In their previous classes, Rose said they were normally the only person of color in the room.

“Just seeing all those shades of brown, and all the different names, and all the people with their kinky hair, and their long, black, thick hair, and all the shades of tan and beige and—I wanted to cry,” Rose said.

Rose said they hope that with the new class of students, more people of all cultures will be represented at Simpson and feel welcome in the community.