Northwestern celebrates Latin American culture at annual Festival LatiNU


Caroline Olsen/The Daily Northwestern

Students sample free Latin American food at the annual Festival LatiNU, hosted by Alianza and the Multicultural Student Affairs office. The event honored Latino/Hispanic Heritage Month and featured live music and dancing.

Mariana Alfaro, Reporter

Smells from a variety of Latin American dishes filled the Louis Room in Norris University Center on Saturday night during the 14th annual Festival LatiNU, part of Northwestern’s celebration of Latino/Hispanic Heritage Month.

The festival, organized by Alianza and Hispanic/Latino Student Affairs, was held to bring together people of different backgrounds, especially those with Latin American roots.

“The Latino community is a strong community,” said Alejandro Magana, director of HLSA. “I think the students make it their own.”

The event, which featured lively Latino music, offered more than 10 different Latin American foods and beverages including delicacies such as Venezuelan arepas and Salvadoran pupusas, and traditional drinks such as horchata, agua de Jamaica and Jarritos, a Mexican soft drink.

About 350 guests attended the festival and Magana said it was a great turnout.

“The hope is for students to be able to create an ambience where they will be able to flourish and fully explore their multiple identities,” he said.

Flags from different Latin American countries lined the walls and different Spanish dialects filled the room. Medill freshman Lauren Bally said she enjoyed the variety of cultures represented.

“The festival was great,” Bally said. “It highlighted a ton of different Latino cultures through food and performances. There was something for everyone.”

Mariachi Northwestern was among the six performances during the night. The student band played popular mariachi hits such as “Guadalajara” and “El Son de la Negra” as the audience sang along.

Ballet Folklorico Mexicano de Northwestern, a student group that practices traditional Mexican dance, performed during Mariachi NU’s songs, and an Evanston-based Brazilian samba group pulled audience members off their seats and onto the dance floor.

“I like that it is one of the few days that we celebrate Latino culture here at Northwestern,” Weinberg junior Joel Guajardo said. “This kind of event should definitely happen more often.”

The headline of this story was updated Oct. 26 at 11:36 p.m.

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