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The Independent Student Voice of NMSU Since 1907

NMSU Round Up

The Independent Student Voice of NMSU Since 1907

NMSU Round Up

LACumbias Day celebrates intersectionality at NMSU

David Castañeda
The Chicano Programs is celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month by hosting different events that honor the Hispanic culture. Oct. 6. 2023

Cumbia is a popular genre of music and dance in Chicano and Latinx communities, made popular in the mainstream by artists such as Selena. Put simply, it is the sort of music that encourages people to get up and dance. At Chicano Programs’ first ever LACumbias Day event Sept. 26, there was plenty of dancing, plenty of food, and plenty of community building.  

Chicano Programs are one of the units of NMSU’s diversity programs, providing services to Latinx and Hispanic students. To celebrate National Hispanic Heritage month, they are hosting programming from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15, including their LACumbias Day celebration.  

Beginning at 11:30 a.m. and going until 2 p.m. the event served students who were interested in Chicano Programs, drawn in by the music, or just wanted to stop and grab some food around lunchtime.  

The Chicano Programs welcomed students to their LACumbias Day celebration with different refreshments and popsicles. Oct 6. 2023 (David Castañeda)

Intersectionality was the word on everyone’s lips, stressing the importance of events and spaces like these where students can celebrate and learn about their identities. 

“We celebrate the diversity in New Mexico, we love it,” said Juju Benihani of Chicano programs. “We’re just here to spread joy for students and relieve some of their stress.”   

LACumbias Day is the first of the program’s community building outreach events. In addition to Chicano Programs, other diversity programs also had tables for participants to peruse. Among the attendants were the NMSU Dream Team, Residence Hall Association, LGBT+ Programs, and Black Programs. 

The presence of such programs was meant to help encourage intersectionality among groups on campus, as well as to show their support during Hispanic Heritage Month.  

“This is an outreach event to offer a platform for different student organizations not only in Chicano programs but other diversity programs at NMSU,” Karla Robles-Guzman of Latin American Council said.  

Students were encouraged to get food provided by Chicano programs, drink agua frescas, and listen to the cumbia music. More than anything, they were encouraged to dance and speak to some of the groups present.  

Among the groups was Black Programs, there to show support for Chicano programs and help remind students of the vast intersections of racial identities and the opportunities provided for them via the campus diversity programs.  

Natalie Thomas, the Black Student Association program coordinator, stressed the importance of community and intersectionality for students and the importance of making sure students feel seen in all aspects of their identity.  

Thomas particularly praised the Cumbia celebration and its ability to introduce people to Chicano culture and provide a space for diversity programs to table.  

“You come here, and you’re going ‘oh, it’s more than just stopping at a table,’” Thomas said. You’re hearing things they listen to; you’re eating things that they eat; you can ask questions, and everybody can answer.”  

 During Hispanic heritage month, Chicano Programs is hoping to host more events to celebrate the wide range of identities on campus. Further programming includes partnering with LGBT+ programs for OUTober and Hispanic Heritage Month, as well as other community building events and opportunities on campus for students to get involved.  

Other topics included is the upcoming formation of an Afro-Latinx group on campus, and meetings with the Border Rights collective.  

Cumbia music underscored the entire event, itself a marker of the diverse and wide range of people under the Chicano umbrella.  

“Cumbia is a very popular music genre, a lot of Latinx communities are familiar with it, and it has its roots in Afro-Latinidad, actually,” explained Chicano Programs Director Dr. Rio Lopez. “The rhythms, the lyrics, the melodies. It’s very good for dancing, and it’s very easy to dance to a cumbia.” 

Lopez was proven correct, as people danced, laughed, and learned about the programs available to them on campus. Cumbias underscored the event, making the first community outreach event of Hispanic Heritage Month a sure success.  

Students are encouraged to get involved with Chicano Programs’ events this month even if they themselves are not Hispanic or Latino. For more information about Chicano Programs and upcoming events, visit their webpage at and follow @nmsuchicanx on Instagram.  

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About the Contributors
Madeline Nielsen
Madeline Nielsen, Staff Writer
Madeline Nielsen is a freshman at NMSU majoring in Journalism and Media Studies. This is her first semester at The Round Up as a writer. She is excited for the learning experiences in Student Media and in college at large. She is originally from Santa Fe, New Mexico, and graduated from St. Michael’s High School in 2023. In High School, she participated in creative writing and theater, and is excited to continue working with all facets of student media in college. In her free time, she enjoys reading, writing, and painting.
David Castañeda
David Castañeda, Multimedia Director
David Castañeda is starting his second year here at The Round Up, this being his first year as Multimedia Director. This is his second year at New Mexico State University and is majoring in Journalism & Media Studies. He was born and raised in El Paso, Texas as an only child but is extremely happy to be able to call Las Cruces his new home. David has had an affinity for photography since he was in elementary school and has only fallen deeper in love with the art through this job. Though David enjoys nothing more than to be behind a camera he loves to try to explore new hobbies and career options. He’s currently focused on improving his photography at The Round Up and working with the Multimedia Specialists to make the Multimedia team the best it can be. When he isn’t taking photos or editing them on Photoshop, David loves to spend his time with his 3-year-long girlfriend in their apartment where they frequently cuddle up in bed to watch some trash TV and films. On his own, he loves to play the bass and listen to music. His favorite artists are The Strokes and Gorillaz.    

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  • AnonymousOct 9, 2023 at 11:34 AM

    Great article. Lots of info and reads fast!