MELT Hispanic Heritage event spreads cultural awareness on campus


Alyssa Donnelly, Assistant News Editor

The Multicultural Engagement Leadership Team (MELT) celebrated Hispanic Heritage month on Wednesday. MELT held its first “Couch Conversation” of the semester. The event aimed to bring together students to talk about stereotypes, cultural differences, and current political candidates’ views of Hispanics.

MELT wants students to feel comfortable talking about these sometimes sensitive topics and to learn from each other. The students who participated got the chance to learn about the diversity within Buena Vista University. MELT hosts Couch Conversations every month to spread awareness and encourage respect towards students’ cultures, religious views, etc.

Junior MELT President, Karla Trujillo, has an important goal for the students who participate.

“We want students to tell us how they feel and how they may be portrayed within the media by their race or culture,” Trujillo said.

Trujillo explained that honesty is important to the group, and they want to make students feel comfortable on campus with these Couch Conversations. The conversations target comfort and trust among students to help them realize they are not alone.

Topics for the Hispanic Heritage conversation ranged from risks families take to come to America to being stereotyped as criminals. Questions included, “How do you feel Hispanics are portrayed in television and movies?” “How do you feel about people making negative remarks about those who speak Spanish in public?”

The questions were designed to spark conversation, helping those who are not Hispanic to perhaps better understand bias and discrimination.

The conversation did not focus solely on negative stereotypes. Sophomore Lindsay Blackford, a member of MELT, expressed that Hispanics also have positive stereotypes.
“They are hardworking, family orientated, very supportive of one another, and very proud of their culture,” Blackford said.

MELT wants students and even their members to truly understand the multiculturalism within their community. Couch Conversations will continue once a month, and MELT member encourage students to attend and engage. Upcoming conversations will be posted in BVUNews or in posts around campus.

Photo by Alyssa Donnelly