AFC Hosts Dinner in Honor of Hispanic Heritage Month


Photo by Silvia Cantu Bautista

Students organized a dinner event in the Anderson Freeman Center in honor of Hispanic Heritage Month.


Students organized the first National Hispanic Heritage Month community dinner in Carr Hall on Sept. 30. This event, funded by the Anderson Freeman Center (AFC), welcomed a total of more than 70 participants last Saturday night.

Although the event did not officially start until 6 p.m., many students came early to help out, including Noel Hermilio Aispuro ’18.

“I came here because I want to help cook,” Aispuro said as he participated in the preparation of flautas, one of the main dishes for the dinner.

Hermilio Aispuro said that cooking food from specific cultures has a much deeper meaning. He said authentic Latin American food makes Hispanic students at Middlebury feel more at home and provides an opportunity to savor the taste of childhood.

He said he looked forward to students from non-Hispanic backgrounds having the chance to engage in intercultural communications to learn more about Latin American food and culture.

      The dinner began with a brief introduction about the National Hispanic Heritage Month and organizers spoke about the goals of the event. Then, a variety of food was served and music played.

Besides offering a space for Hispanic students to interact, the community supper also attracted a fair number of students with non-Hispanic backgrounds. Vee Duong ’19, cited friendship and curiosities about Hispanic culture as main factors for her participation in the event.

“A lot of my friends [organized] this event, so I [came] to support them and to learn more the Hispanic culture,” Duong said. Duong also thinks that the community dinner is effective in establishing a sense of connection “I learned that the Hispanic community on campus is really vibrant, and they are really nice and warm,” she said.

Katherine Morillo ’18 is the coordinator for Middlebury Intercultural Leaders Coalition (MILC). This year is Morillo’s third working at the AFC, and she’s excited to bring about changes and start new cultural traditions. She explained that although Saturday’s event was the first Hispanic Heritage community dinner, the AFC hosted community dinners last year as well.

“Our community supper started last year…to bring the AFC community together, and to have students come to a space where they feel welcome and feel at home and don’t have to have food at the dining hall,” Morillo said. “This year we [decided] to do more about heritage months. Having the Hispanic Heritage community supper is just to do something different and to have different students involved.”

“For me it’s always about, like, having people talk and learn new things,” she said. “It’s not only about [showing] up and [eating]. It’s also about the students who worked with me in the kitchen been here for hours.”

Morillo also said some of the student who volunteer to help with preparation are even from outside the group, which  helps foster a community environment.

“I think that’s a big part of what creates a community here, because those students don’t have to do that…they have assignments to do, but they still want to make this (the community dinner) happen,” she said.

Morillo added that there will be three AFC cultural community dinners every semester, alongside other cultural events throughout campus. For example, a Hispanic Heritage Month themed barbecue featuring a Dominican hip-hop duo performance already took place in early September.

“We’re definitely trying to open up to different types of things and hopefully in the future we can get different types of events going,” Morillo said.