Happy. The one word chosen by Jemima Adisa ‘18 to describe Hispanos Unidos de Guilford. HUG’s Welcome Back Celebration was held on Wednesday, August 29 in the MCR room in King Hall.
The event was filled with welcoming faces, authentic Hispanic food and light guitar music played by sophomore Moe Reh in the background. The event was an open space for attendees to mingle and chat about the coming year. The Welcome Back Celebration has been a key event for HUG, allowing members new and old, to mingle with each other and with curious students who attend.
Junior Kendra Guzman, HUG’s president, notes that the popular event has been ongoing for 12 to 13 years and sets the tone of the club for the entire year.
“To me HUG is about having a space where Latinx students and all students have a space where they can come and talk and express themselves,” said Guzman. “It’s really easy to get wrapped into classes so having a space like HUG allows students to sit down and relax and have someone to talk to.”
Most of HUG’s goals revolve around creating a safe space for expression, embracing their various cultures and backgrounds and discussing problems in the Hispanic community. Senior Jeniffer Gonzalez-Reyes has been a member of HUG for the past three years and says that HUG allows her to feel comfortable sharing her culture with others.
“HUG is a place where I fell most comfortable sharing my culture and sharing where I’m from,” said Gonzalez-Reyes. “It is also a space where I have fun with other students that are from Latin America. It’s great to be able to share our traditions with each other, including our food and music tastes.”
Junior Librado Mendoza Sosa, HUG’s vice president, reflected on how being a part of HUG has given him a safe place to find people with similar experiences that he could relate to and a chance to interact with other minority students.
Additionally, many club members look excitedly to the club’s future as they discuss how the club has also given them a friendly environment to socialize in and gain close friends. Junior Eder Flores said “to expect more members this year” and is optimistic about the prospect of higher membership.
Although Hispanic roots provide the name for the club, members recognize that HUG is open to people of all races and ethnicities. All of the board members greeted students of different backgrounds at the Welcome Back Celebration. Mendoza Sosa added that there was no discrimination in the club, and Adisa discussed how the event provided students with new perspective and greater respect towards other cultures. HUG provides students with a chance to socialize with other students and gain a sense of inclusion during the college experience.
HUG’s Welcome Back was student-organized as the food was catered by local restaurants El Mercadito and La Palma. Some Hug members brought homemade desserts for the occasion. Other annual events hosted by HUG are the Cesar Chavez Banquet, Women’s History Month and the Hispanic History Month celebration.