Latino community welcomes newcomers

Speckled with students from all parts of the Hispanic culture, the Sixth Annual Latino Welcome Weekend, hosted by the Office of Hispanic Initiatives and Tech’s Hispanic/Latino organizations, welcomed and entertained well over 400 people at the Skiles Building on Friday, Aug. 27, and at the patio of the Campus Recreation Center (CRC) on Saturday, Aug. 28.

The Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE) used the weekend to target uniting the Latin community of Tech. SHPE welcomed freshmen, transfer students and the existing community of Latinos to the many potential activities and relevant cultural groups on campus.

Sponsored by the Office of Hispanic Initiatives and the company John Deere, the event had Institute President G.P. “Bud” Peterson, his wife Val Peterson, Vice President for Student Affairs Dr. Bill Schafer and Dean of Students John Stein in attendance.

Peterson and his wife spoke briefly to the attendees on Aug. 27. Peterson’s wife also gave a small welcome in the Spanish language to the new entrants to Tech’s Latin community.

The event included raffle prizes, music and refreshments.

“I’m just glad that the [Latin] community has an event where the new and old [members] come together with common interests,” said Antonio Elosua, President of the Hispanic Recruitment Team and third-year IE major.

The second day of the Latino welcome weekend took place at the patio of the Campus Recreation Center (CRC). It included dancing, raffling and plenty of mingling. Cheek kissing, greetings and Spanish were in full swing.

Provost Dr. Rafael Bras and his wife attended the pool party on Saturday, Aug. 28.

Food specialties included Cuban sandwiches, and the event had live mambo-salsa dancing and a DJ. The Georgia Tech Salsa Club was in attendance boasting different techniques, strutting their stuff and meeting potential new members.

“It was pretty cool getting to know so many of the new Latin students that have come to Tech,” said Esteban Moscoso, SHPE member and fourth-year IE major.

According to the Fall 2009 Report put together by Georgia Tech Institutional Research and Planning, the Hispanic and Latino community of undergraduate and graduate students makes up 5.1 percent of enrollment, totaling 1,035 Hispanic students.

According to the Hispanic Business Magazine, Tech ranks eighth on the list of nationwide Graduate Engineering programs for Hispanics.

Many large Fortune 500 companies, such as John Deere and Eaton, the event’s sponsors, use SHPE’s abundance of professional development and sponsorship opportunities as a tool for viable work force recruitment.

Other Hispanic organizations who hosted the event include: Gringos Y Latinos Atlanta Spanish Service Society (GLASSS), the Hispanic Recruitment Team (HRT), the Hispanic Scholarship Fund (HSF), the Latino Organization of Graduate Students (LOGRAS), Lambda Theta Alpha, La Unidad Latina (LUL), Spanish Speaking Organization (SSO), Brazilian Student Association (BRASA) and the Puerto Rican Student Association (PRisa).