Cultural divides can sometimes be difficult to cross, but no matter what background a person has, everyone has to eat.
The 10th annual Sigma Lambda Beta Carne Asada Event took place April 27, and more than 100 people came to share in music, discussion and traditional Mexican food.
“This is one of our most successful fundraisers that we do,” said Frederick Olmos, treasurer and recruiter for SLB. “One of our principles is cultural awareness. So being a Latino-emphasis fraternity, we like to share our culture with the people here on campus, and we truly believe that one of the best ways of sharing our culture is through our food.”
The event usually brings in around $500-$600, but this year’s Carne Asada Event was the most successful so far, bringing in 112 people and $900 for SLB.
The whole night prior to the event is spent in preparation, Olmos said. Fraternity brothers prepare all the food themselves, often checking family recipes or calling their mothers to make sure everything is perfect, and some of the dishes take up to seven hours to prepare for so many people.
“Everything at that event is homemade,” Olmos said. “It’s served hot, right outside the grill and it’s served on your plate.”
Olmos said word tends to spread quickly for the event, but this year SLB put out extra advertising and told people on campus to attend in person. Usually, about 60 percent of patrons come from the Hispanic community, Olmos said, but there is usually a pretty good mix of people from all backgrounds, and everyone is welcome.
The money earned from the event goes to SLB’s Women’s Appreciation Day, when guest speakers are brought to campus to talk about women’s issues, particularly those that affect the Latino community.
“It’s kind of like our philanthropy to raise awareness of the issues that women are facing,” Olmos said. “As gentlemen of this fraternity, we believe that giving back and showing some appreciation to the women in our lives is very important, so that’s what we do every year.”
Some issues that have come up for discussion at Women’s Appreciation Day in the past are the wage gap between men and women, and talking about ways to empower young Latinas, who Olmos said face traditional barriers and may be expected to start a family at a young age instead of building a career.
“When you’re trying to fix issues, when you try to come up with ideas to solve a problem, we truly feel that educating people on what those issues are is key in dealing with those issues,” Olmos said. “What we do first is that we let those issues out in the open and talk openly about those issues that are affecting women of color, and from there we build awareness on those issues.”
The work SLB does in empowering women through guest speakers makes a difference, Olmos said, and the fraternity gets positive feedback from people who attend the event. People also stay behind and talk to the fraternity brothers, and Olmos said that they are usually appreciative and feel the speakers make a powerful difference in their lives.
“We live in a very male-dominant society, and for us, what we believe in is that in order to make something happen, men have to be on board,” Olmos said. “I think that by understanding a little bit more from the women’s perspective about how they feel about certain issues, I believe that we can implement that change.”
Daniel Durand can be reached at email@example.com