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Ohio State student organizations host Thanksgiving dinner with Latino, Hispanic food

At most Thanksgiving dinners, there are going to be a few meal staples, like turkey, pumpkin pie and stuffing, but Ohio State students might not expect to see food from Cazuela’s Grill and Plaza Mexican Grill on the table.

While the last entry might not be conventional, it wasn’t out of place Thursday when the Hispanic Business Student Association and Latino Student Association hosted a Thanksgiving dinner at the Ohio Union.

All those expecting to eat were asked to bring in a canned good and the donations went to the Mid-Ohio Foodbank.

HBSA has been hosting this event for more than a decade, but some members said this year’s edition was bigger than ever.

“We have more passion for the organization. We wanted to do things on a bigger scale,” said Gonzalo Adriazola, a third-year in international business and marketing and member of HBSA. “That’s why we went to sponsors, made T-shirts and tried to make the event different.”

Even though it was a Thanksgiving dinner in name, three local restaurants with ties to the Latino and Hispanic communities supplied the food: Plaza Mexican Grill, Cazuela’s Grill and Jack & Benny’s. Guests could try many different favorites from Latino and Hispanic culture, like picadillo, which is dish made with beef and tomatoes, or papa a la Huancaína, a Peruvian salad which includes boiled potatoes.

“The culture is definitely something really big,” said Mauricio Nieto, a third-year food, agricultural and biological engineering and member of the Latino Student Association. “Especially since we’re in Ohio and there’s not a big Latino population, bringing the culture into it is a great way to bring awareness.”

Adriazola said the meal was a way to come together.

“With food, we can share a little bit about our cultures,” said Adriazola, a Peru native. “And a little bit of who we are as a people.”

The event’s focus on all aspects of Latino and Hispanic cultures was what made Tomas Perez, HBSA president and third-year in accounting, most proud.

“To see all the Latinos gathered here tonight meant a lot to me,” said Perez, a native of Colombia. “I had several conversations with different people who I didn’t even know were Latinos, and I was so happy to talk to them and see that we were able to come together through an event like this.”

Perez said the goal of his organization is not only to try and give Hispanic students opportunities in the business world, but to also give back to the overall Hispanic community, which was one of the themes of the dinner.

“The biggest thing is that there are people actively participating for the greater good,” Perez said. “They know this is going towards a great organization like the Mid-Ohio Foodbank, and that (HBSA and LSA) are great organizations here on campus.”

Some guests, including Brad Ross, a third-year in history, could also see the event’s positive impact.

“I believe (events like this one) are extremely important,” Ross said. “Understanding different cultures is how we can actually bring ourselves together as a society and encourage inclusion.”

Adriazola emphasized that the event was about more than giving students a chance to mingle.

“This is beyond an event for the group,” Adriazola said. “This is going to the community, this is making a statement that we can do things.”

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