The student news site of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois.

The Daily Eastern News

The student news site of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois.

The Daily Eastern News

The student news site of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois.

The Daily Eastern News


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El Mercadito kicks off Latino Heritage Month

Students giving away flan at El Mercadito in Coleman Hall at Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Ill on Friday, Sept. 15. (Audra Gullquist)

The smell of free tacos and the rhythms of Latino music filled Coleman Hall 1150.

“The atmosphere was so positive,” said Corrina Hernandez, a sophomore Spanish major. “It was like you could feel each person’s excitement they were experiencing about the food and friends.”

Students, faculty and staff gathered to kick off the beginning of Latino Heritage Month on Friday by raising the Latino flag in the South Quad at 12:30 p.m., which was followed by El Mercadito at 1 p.m.

Everyone on campus was welcome to join the kick-off and enjoy the traditional Latino food and social atmosphere that El Mercadito had to offer.

Talaya Warfield, a junior majoring in human services, has been part of the Spanish Club for two years, and became the Co-President this year.

Warfield stated that at the Spanish Club, “Everybody’s welcome, different cultures, backgrounds, whatever. They should all come out and join us. We just enjoy having everybody here.”

She also stated that the club started planning for the annual event at the beginning of the semester. She shared that the club had no expectations for the amount of participants that would show up to the event but ordered around 100 tacos in preparation.

60 to 100 people attended the event, which Kristen Routt, member of the Latino Heritage Month Planning Committee and Spanish professor, said was a successful outcome.

“We are very pleased with the number of people that came out,” Routt said. “This is exactly the turnout we were hoping for.”

Routt helped coordinate the Spanish Club’s fundraiser of tres leches cakes and Jarritos that were for sale at the event. All proceeds went directly back to the club to fund their future events and activities.

Routt is also the faculty sponsor for Alpha Psi Lambda, Eastern’s Co-Ed Latino fraternity. The fraternity also had a table at the event to sell elote and celebrate their Latino Community.

Hernandez, the club’s social media manager, was one of the many students that made the event happen. She advertised the event and helped tend the table selling tres leches and Jarritos.

She stated that traditional Latino food is a staple in any event that aims to honor the Latino heritage.

“I really think the tacos, flan, elote and Jarritos were a way to signify the Latino culture and bring us together as a community in celebration of Latino Heritage Month,” Herandez said.

Newman Catholic Center held a fundraiser at the event, selling two size options of flan, which six students helped the center make. For a small cup of flan, Newman charged one dollar, but for a large cup, the price was increased to three dollars.

Doris Nordin, a campus minister at the Newman Catholic center and committee member, recalled Newman’s presence at the event by stating that, “The whole purpose is to be here supporting the Latino community.”

Karina Warfel, a freshman Spanish major, spoke very highly of Newman’s efforts.

“They do a lot of really good things for the Latino community,” Warfel said. “They have ‘Amigos and Friends’ that assists immigrants who are trying to learn English and trying to gain skills to come to this country and adjust to life here.”

Eastern’s Office of Inclusion and Academic Engagement (OIAE) held a drawing for a give-away at the event.

“We had two gift baskets with EIU merchandise swag,” Admissions Assistant, Luis Paniagua said. “It is courtesy of donations from the Office of Inclusion Academic Engagement and the Office of Admissions as well.”

To enter the give-away, participants were required to fill out a slip of paper with their name and email address and then follow OIAE’s new instagram account, @oiaeeiu. The instagram account went live at 4 p.m. on Friday to announce the winners of the baskets.

The Spanish Club, Newman Catholic Center and Alpha Psi Lambda are always welcoming to new members.

They are hosting several events during this month, the next being Tales from the Front: EIU Latinx Grads on the Job Market on Sept. 20 in Coleman Hall 1150 at 5:30 p.m.

Their entire schedule can be viewed on their website. The committee heavily encourages the community to come celebrate and honor Latino Heritage at their events and to “Be proud of your past, embrace your future,” as their slogan states.


Audra Gullquist can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected].

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About the Contributor
Audra Gullquist, Assistant News Editor
Audra Gullquist is a junior journalism major. She previously served as editor-in-chief at The Navigator.

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