I was able to interview Sarah Childs, Asistant Director of the Multicultural Success Center at IUPUI, about an exciting, new event series taking place on campus called Cafe con Pan.
What inspired you to host this event?
I wanted an opportunity to gather undergraduate and graduate students who self-identify as Latin@ or Hispanic. IUPUI is a big enough campus that it is easy for people to get lost among the shuffle of this busy campus and stay so focused on the day-to-day that individuals might not get other opportunities to stop and think about self, care and community. For some, being on a predominately white campus can be a shock. Students should expect to have a safe space to share openly what their experiences are with others who likely share similar identities and who understand Latin@ culture. As a professional staff member and a Latina, I want students to feel that they can connect with someone who shares in their general cultural identity.
What do you hope to accomplish with Cafe con Pan?
All human beings need to feel a sense of belonging in a community. This of course happens by creating trusting relationships where all people feel valued and heard. We also need to feel like people understand us and listen. I want Café con Pan to be a place for camaraderie and fellowship among the Latin@ student community at IUPUI. Each month there is a loosely structured agenda though conversation can take the group anywhere. My intent is to explore contemporary issues, share culture, network, have fun, and more—all through open and civil dialogue. Ultimately, I hope that Café con Pan in some way makes students realize that they have a voice and they are valuable as individuals and as a greater community.
Why the name Cafe con Pan?
Café con pan or café con leche is a known evening activity among Latino communities in the United States and Latin countries. I chose the name not only for the ritual of drinking coffee with milk (or even tea) and eating sweet bread but also because of what happens. This is time, at least in my family, when people gather around the dinner table or living room to have relaxed and open conversations about life. How is your day? Week? A general check-in of sorts after being away at school, work, etc. When I visit my family in Mexico I always stay with one particular aunt—Carmela. Carmela’s grown kids and their children are at her house every day for something but Sunday’s are special. Every one of her children stop by with their kids to visit abuelo and abuela for café and Mexican pan dulce in the evening. It is special family time and Mexican pan dulce is a comfort food.
Want to attend? Read more!