UT Hispanic Coalition raises funds for Puerto Rico, Mexico relief

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Photo Credit: Courtesy of Kristen Balderas | Daily Texan Staff

UT is home to over a dozen Hispanic student organizations, and last week, many of them came together for the first time.

The UT Hispanic Coalition, which consists of 10 Hispanic student organizations, fundraised for relief of recent natural disasters in Mexico and Puerto Rico through an event last Saturday at Austin bar Cheer Up Charlies. Chulita Vinyl Club, a Hispanic DJ group, performed at the event for free and the coalition collected funds from 15 percent of bar profits and $5 donations at the door.

Issac Salinas, director of membership for Association of Latino Professionals for America, said the new collaboration is unconventional but effective.

“Never have I seen so much unity,” Salinas said. “You don’t hear as much about UT’s Hispanic organizations actually organizing and being cohesive … but when it does happen, it’s something huge that people need to pay attention to.”

The coalition has raised over $800 out of a $1000 goal and will continue to accept money until Friday. The funds will be donated to the Hispanic Federation, a national Latino nonprofit which created the UNIDOS relief fund in response to Hurricane Maria and the Mexico City earthquake.

The idea of fundraising came up when members from the UT National Association of Hispanic Journalists chapter got connected to students from Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers, said biochemistry senior Natalia Galvan.

Galvan, who is the vice regional representative for Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers, said the venue and the DJ performance was given to them free of charge.

“We were very lucky that the venue and the music (performers) were very welcoming and charitable,” Galvan said.

Marketing junior Sara Trevino, the community service officer of the Hispanic Business Student Association, said the coalition’s efforts brings light to an important and necessary issue.

“Not only was it fundraising money … but it was also bringing awareness to the subject,” Trevino said. “It’s one thing to say that you care about a certain cause, but you don’t really do anything about it.”

The ten organizations started preparing the fundraiser in late September, Galvan said.

“I think what made this event so successful with our limited efforts and time is that you can sense that familiar community within the Hispanic people that you’d honestly don’t see anywhere else,” Galvan said.