Gamma Betas bring Fiesta de Noche to campus

The+Fiesta+de+Noche+celebration+took+place+Sept.+24+at+the+Ray+and+Kay+Eckstein+Common.+

The Fiesta de Noche celebration took place Sept. 24 at the Ray and Kay Eckstein Common.

Sounds of reggaetón, rancheras and salsa could all be traced to the Fiesta de Noche celebration at the Ray and Kay Eckstein Common on Sept. 24.

While taking a break from making tacos and carefully ladling sweet horchata into red cups, Angel “Pollux” Martinez, vice-president of external affairs for the Gamma Beta chapter of Sigma Lambda Beta Fraternity, expressed how the turnout for the event felt.

“It’s crazy! It’s almost like a joke! Every 30 seconds I’m talking to someone new. It’s like, ‘Hey! How’re you doing? Horchata or Jarrito?’” said Martinez Martinez said.

Although Fiesta de Noche is sponsored by the Marquette University Student Government and Late Night Marquette, the Gamma Betas are the event’s founders.

The Sigma Lambda Beta Fraternity is the first Latino-based fraternity. It was founded in 1986 at the University of Iowa. Although its founding chapter started with 18 members, the organization currently has over 120 chapters in more than 30 states.

Marquette’s Gamma Beta chapter was founded on May 15, 1998, and officially recognized on May 17, 2000.

“It started as just, like, a cookout for the bros at the fraternity, and then it kind of expanded more and more every year. They’ve been doing this since the early 2000s, the last five years it’s gotten really big,” Martinez said.

According to Martinez, the event has reached an attendance of at least a thousand in the last 3 years.

“I think Fiesta de Noche is so good for the community. Everyone gets to be together and non-Latinos get to learn and be more open and understanding when connecting with us,” Amanda Morales, a sophomore in the College of Arts & Sciences, said.

Lines for food spanned from the tables where Mexican drinks were being served to the opposite street, and the greenspace was packed with an audience watching dancers perform the Jarabe Tapatío, a traditional Mexican dance that imitates a courtship and concheros, another traditional Mexican dance meant to imitate and honor precolonial and colonial traditions.

When the dancers were not performing, a live DJ was playing a mix of Latin music from all corners of Latinoamerica.

“I feel appreciated when there’s activities like Fiesta de Noche. It’s like you’re getting acknowledged and noticed,” Camila Rodriguez, a sophomore in the College of Arts & Sciences, said.

Since 2016, Marquette has been striving to become a Hispanic Serving Institution. HSIs are federally designated institutions that have a 25% or higher Hispanic student body.

“Having an event like this is so important. Marquette is an aspiring HSI, and events like this mean so much to the Latino community on campus. It’s reassurance that we care. Even if we go to a PWI, we’re all here for each other,” Martinez said.

As of 2021, Marquette has a Hispanic population of at least 15%.

This means that the Hispanic population on campus has doubled in the last 10 years and that Marquette now officially qualifies for Emerging HSI status.

Marquette’s history on attempting to become a HSI

Although Marquette is an Emerging HSI, some students feel that administration could be allocating more resources to its Hispanic population.

The Roberto Hernández Center, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee’s Hispanic Student Resource Center, sits 15 minutes away from Marquette’s campus.

Although Marquette has multicultural programs and resource centers, there is no specific support for Hispanic students.

“I’ve been going to these events since freshman year. It’s really nice to see your community and the people of color from on-campus. It’s not even about celebrating my Mexican culture, it’s about celebrating culture in general,” America Garcia, a senior in the College of Arts & Sciences, said.

Garcia said she is also a part of Marquette’s chapter of the Sigma Lambda Gamma International Sorority, Omicron Gamma. The sorority often collaborates with the Gamma Betas, as does the Latin American Student Organization.

On Wednesday, Sept. 28, there will be a Soup with Substance meeting hosted by Campus Ministry at noon in AMU room 227.

This was written by Clara Lebrón. She can be reached at [email protected]