During National Hispanic Heritage Month, MSC CAMAC, representing the Committee for the Awareness of Mexican-American Culture, will host the “Mi Casa Es Su Casa” opening ceremony to connect Latinx students with faculty members.
MSC CAMAC: A Latinx Programming Committee is holding its inaugural event on Thursday, Sept. 17 from 7 to 8:30 p.m. on Zoom. The ceremony will encourage authentic conversation and will include cooking with a faculty member to allow students to network and celebrate their culture together.
Keiry Argueta, agribusiness senior and MSC CAMAC chair, said the opening ceremony is intended to set the mood for the community and introduce the goals of the organization.
“MSC CAMAC is a committee that works on educating and uniting students from diverse backgrounds by presenting programs that enrich the awareness and understanding of the Latinx cultures and values,” Argueta said.
Rosalinda Carreon, psychology and Spanish senior and MSC CAMAC retention director, said while this year’s program will be online because of the pandemic, it will still have the same meaning.
“It is open to everybody — every student and also every professor — [to] come and celebrate their Hispanic roots,” Carreon said. “It represents a space where we can come and network and break the barriers to networking. We want to be here for Latinx students and other students who find it hard to network with professors.”
The guest speaker for this ceremony is David Matarrita, an associate professor in the Department of Rangeland Wildlife & Fisheries Management. Matarrita said he will focus on the importance of motivating Latinx students to succeed in college by sharing his experiences.
“I’m from Costa Rica, and when I decided that I wanted to come to the U.S., my family was in a very precarious situation,” Matarrita said. “I decided that I needed to do something for my family, and so I worked really hard to [complete] the whole process of admission to study in grad school in the U.S.”
While sharing his story, Matarrita said he is going to specifically talk about how he made it here and what he did to succeed.
“I’m going to come out with sort of bulleted points of a recipe for success,” Matarrita said. "Some of these bullet points are going to be in terms of... never apologetic for being a Latino in this country. I never felt less. I just competed hard against everyone for the awards. I worked very hard on my publications [and] studies.”
Overall, Matarrita said there are two points he intends to convey to students: success and celebrating their culture. He said when put together, there should be no doubt that students have every right to be here.
“It’s extremely important to communicate with them the relevance of being comfortable in your shoes [and] not being apologetic of who you are… Especially if you are working hard and being a very important member of this society by contributing with your work,” Matarrita said. “I also want to specify that even without that work-based, success-based part of the equation, just who we are as an ethnicity, as a group of people, there’s plenty to celebrate there.”
In addition to the discussions initiated by Matarrita, Carreon said students will also be making a recipe that Matarrita chose based on something that was meaningful to him and his Latinx identity.
“He’s going to show you how to make patacones, so if you want to cook along, you could,” Carreon said. “CAMAC directors will be there to facilitate conversation. It will be an open discussion between all of us.”
Argueta said the ultimate purpose of the event this National Hispanic Heritage Month is to help unite Latinx students at Texas A&M and allow them to be proud of their culture.
“The relevance in National Hispanic Heritage Month is to empower our community, and that’s what we’re trying to do. We need to build that confidence [and] security within our community through these hard times,” Argueta said. “[Matarrita’s] journey and his determination to get to where he got is very inspiring. I really encourage everybody to attend because they will get something out of it.”