UTSA kicks off October, Hispanic Heritage Month, with a memorable night. On Friday, Oct. 9, the Inclusion in Community Engagement Center hosted the 2nd Annual Gala Latina in collaboration with various Hispanic organizations. Gala Latina is a celebration in honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, which highlights achievements of Latinos and the Latino culture.
The guests consisted of Hispanic Greek societies including Phi Iota Alpha, Hermandad de Sigma Iota Alpha, Sigma Lambda Alpha, Sigma Lambda Beta, Kappa Delta Chi and the Hispanic Student Association.
Dr. Edwin Barea-Rodriguez, department chair in the biology department was the featured speaker.
In his presentation, “Changing Family and Leaving a Legacy” Barea-Rodriguez encouraged to chart their future according to their interest and passions.
Barea-Rodriguez urged students to find resources in areas that help them grow and flourish.
“You are the future of this nation,” Barea-Rodriguez said. “Make an impact, not an impression.”
The Greek societies are taught the values of integrity, respect, honor and humility, yet it is easy for students to lose sight of those values, he explained.
Barea-Rodriguez then recalled a time in his life when he lost sight of his values.
“I looked at myself in the mirror and did not like what I saw,” he said.
“The constant struggles and difficulties of life often force humans to sway away from their true self.”
After being diagnosed with cancer, Barea-Rodriguez decided to live a better life.
“I decided to change as a person,” he said.
He ended his speech with a warning to the audience.
“Young students should not await such an obstacle as cancer to force themselves to improve,” Barea-Rodriguez said.