Registered Student Organizations across campus collaborated with UA Libraries and the UA Center for Multicultural and Diversity Education on Sept. 6 to celebrate Latinx Heritage Month, the first featured event in the Multicultural Center’s “First Fridays” series.

Members of the International Bolivian Organization RSO spoke about the impacts of the Amazon Rainforest fires on Bolivian citizens.

International Bolivian Organization members will send the money they raised at a bake sale Sept. 5 to Bolivian citizens in an effort to help extinguish the fires, sophomore member Nicolas Villarreal said. 

“It’s kind of shameful to see that even though normal citizens like us … want to help, our president is not willing to do that,” Villarreal said.

The rainforest covers the northern stretch of Bolivia, and the smoke from the fires has impacted citizens living in areas like Santa Cruz, where the airport is located, freshman Juan Saguez, an International Bolivian Organization member, said.

UA Libraries staff curated a pop-up exhibit which displayed archives from the diversity library centered around Latinx culture, heritage and history.

The exhibit featured books and materials from Special Collections, which houses UA archives, rare book collections and unpublished materials like diaries, photographs and letters donated by people who live and work in Arkansas, according to UA Libraries. The exhibit included photographs from the 1980 Cuban refugee crisis known as the Mariel boatlift, along with a pamphlet depicting scenes at the Fort Chaffee refugee housing facility.

The exhibit also featured modern publications and replicated versions of older books.

Marianne Williams, the UA Libraries librarian-in-residence and diversity librarian, purchases all of the books for the diversity collection. Williams attended the event to showcase her collection and gauge what kinds of materials students might be interested in.

“We have some Latinx material, but I’m always looking to purchase more,” Williams said.

Members of the Panamanian Student Association RSO tabled at the event, as well as members of Hermandad de Sigma Iota Alpha, the Latina sisterhood on campus, and Phi Iota Alpha, the Latino fraternity on campus.

Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers members recruited new members and provided students with information and resources.

To Arantxa Morales, a Panamanian Student Association member, the event promoted diversity by bringing awareness to Latinx culture and its presence on the UA campus.

Latinx Heritage Month, officially recognized by the UofA, lasts from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15.

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