An integral component of La Casa is the signature programs that we host with our students, alumni, and community. Between our staff members and student organizations, we conduct between one and six programs each week during the academic year. Below are some of our ongoing traditions.
La Bienvenida: De Su Hogar Al Nuestro
During first-year student move-in, La Casa hosts an orientation specifically for Spanish-speaking parents, guardians, and loves ones. We recognize familia is a pillar in the Latine community and the college transition is a big step for the student as well as their loved ones. Over lunch, we host a panel of students and alumni that share their transition experiences and answer questions - everything is in Spanish to make the information as accessible as possible. Stay tuned for an online format of this event, so it is available to everyone.
Latine Heritage Month (LHM)
In the United States, National Hispanic Heritage Month is from September 15 to October 15. During those weeks, La Casa hosts a series of collaborative efforts in honor of Latine Heritage Month (LHM) to celebrate our diverse cultural heritage. You can refer to the LHM page for past calendars. Some of the major highlights include:
- Latine Retreat - our largest annual gathering of Latine undergraduate, graduate, and professional students at Yale, taking place at an off-site location to engage in activities, discussions, and more.
- LatinExcellence Showcase - started in fall 2019, an exhibit of visual art pieces, literature, dance, song, speeches, and more by Latine undergraduate, graduate, and professional students at Yale
- Keynote Speakers - to either kickoff or close our month, we bring a Keynote Speaker that may highlight the current topics within the Latine community. Recent speakers have included Eduardo Bonilla-Silva (sociologist and professor) Sandra Cisneros (writer), Cristina Jimenez (founder of United We Dream), Clelia O. Rodriguez (author and education), Dr. Amalia Dache (professor), Dr. Paul Joseph Lopez Oro (professor), and Rosa Clemente (organizer and scholar-activist).
- Student Organizations - each year, our affiliate groups host a series of collaborative events to celebrate their Latinidad, question perceptions, expand narratives,a nd build community. Past events have included mixers, cookouts, dance lessons, presentations, guest speakers, and more.
Cena a las seis (CAL6)
Each Friday of the academic semester, you will find a large gathering at La Casa getting ready to eat “dinner at 6pm” and listen to the feautured presenter. For CAL6, a member of the undergraduate senior class or a special guest will give a presentation on their journey to and through Yale over a catered meal featuring the cuisine of their choice. Presenters answer the prompt “Someone once told me…” to share advice and wisdom to rising students. Through their reflection, this event is also a special opportunity for presenters to give thanks to the people that supported them most before and during their Yale experiences.
Oral History Series (OHS)
Once a semester, a Latine alum of La Casa will spend time with our students over a dinner presentation. Since fall 2017, alumni of various fields, identities, and class years have returned to La Casa and discussed their perspective on being “Latine at Yale.” Students will inquire and compare experiences, realizing how similar their narratives may be with some differences to highlight. Testimonios, story-telling, and ancestral knowledge are pillars in the Latine community that we aim to center at La Casa through students and their predecessing alumni.
Julia is Black
The namesake of our center is Julia de Burgos, an Afro-Boricua poet and activist. As we continue to celebrate our diverse cultural heritage, it has become increasingly important to center our African ancestry and the Afro-Latine experience. Throughout the recent years, we have co-hosted a series of efforts with the Afro-American Cultural Center (the House) highlighting the intersection of Blackness and Latinidad. These efforts are known as the “Julia is Black” series. Events topics have included identity, music, celebrations, food, and more.
Alternative Spring Break
After Hurricanes Irma and Maria, La Casa collaborated with the Joseph Slifka Center for Jewish Life at Yale to lead a group of students on a hurrican relief trip to Puerto Rico. Between 2018 and 2019, we were able to take 28 students to Villa del Rio to aid in the reconstruction of homes led by local community members. Before , the groups met on a weekly basis to learn about Puerto Rico, responsible community engagement, personal identities and intercultural engagement. After the trip, group meetings continued to debrief the experience and design a student-led post-trip effort related to the trip. The 2018 group hosted a photo gallery and shared the interviews of community members to highlight their stories. The 2019 group hosted a fundraiser to help the community with supplies for the ongoing reconstruction efforts.
La Casa has a student committee that designs that year’s efforts to celebrate Yale’s Latine graduating students (college, graduate, and professional). Although each year the committee may add efforts, we continue the tradition of hosting two events. During the last week of classes/early Reading Period, we host “Florece” and the La Cassa community-at-large are invited to eat, take pictures, and share memories with each other. Since many undergraduate students may not be around for the commencement festivities, this is an opportunity for all students to celebrate our graduating members before parting ways. During commencement weekend, we host our “La Casa Graduation Celebration” where graduates and their family members will join us over dinner, remarks, a stolling ceremony, awards, and a night of dancing.