On Saturday, September 17, the Bowdoin Latin American Student Organization (LASO) invited us to the Main Quad, where they blessed us with copious amounts of food and the return of DJ Eli, to kick off Latin Heritage Month. 

The evening event was catered by three (!) restaurants: Maíz Columbian Street Food provided vegetarian arepas, chicken empanadas, and their full lineup of homemade sauces; Flores, based in Portland, boasted their wide array of Salvadorian pupusas; and Bolos served up loaded nachos.  

Jane Godiner

"We really wanted to have food from different ethnicities," said LASO President Francisco Perez ’24. "The kickoff should be an event that's open to the whole community."

"Latin America, as a whole, encompasses so many different countries and cuisines," added LASO Programming Director Jose Mota ’23. "It was important for us to reach out and check as many different cuisines we could in the surrounding area."

Mota also believes that featuring a breadth of food options was especially necessary for the College's Latinx community, whose members may not be able to easily access nostalgic food.

"We want to make sure some Latin American staples were out there for everyone to enjoy," Mota said. "For a lot of Latin American identifying students, they can at least get a fragment of home."

Thais Carrillo

As the evening turned into night, caterers reflected on the significance of participating in the kickoff event, as well as that of providing representation through food. 

"I think that it's cool that Bowdoin is able to put something on specifically for the Hispanic community—both for Bowdoin and for Brunswick," said a representative from Bolos. "It's really nice that there's a wide variety of people attending from all different nationalities. We're happy to be catering it and super proud to be a part of it."

A key tenet of LASO's kickoff event, Mota argues, is its inclusivity of not only all members of the Latinx community, but of the greater Bowdoin community at large.

"Anyone can pull up to learn more about us and enjoy our food," Mota said. "If people want to stop by, we're accepting of them."

Through October 15, Bowdoin students can look forward to extensive programming from LASO to celebrate Latin Heritage Month—from a panel discussion led by members of Bowdoin's Latinx community, to a discussion of AfroLatinx history, to a Latin dance workshop featuring salsa, bachata, and merengue. In the meantime, both LASO and the kickoff event's caterers recommend patronizing these local Latin American restaurants, both during and after Latin Heritage Month.