“When we came to Wheaton as first-year students we noticed that the Latino student population was relatively small. It’s already growing, but we thought it would be cool if there were a house that served as a center for sharing Latino culture,” said Mateo Espinosa, the president of SOHL.
The six friends who are the residents of SOHL House reflect a range of Latino cultural backgrounds from Mexico, Ecuador, Brazil and Venezuela to Puerto Rico and Miami, Florida, as well as varied academic interests.
The idea of proposing a theme house focused on Latino and Hispanic culture started as a joke, but quickly became a mission as they began to talk about the impact that they could have on the Wheaton campus.
“It’s important for everyone to be more familiar with Latino culture,” said resident Ben Stone. “By 2030, 50 percent of the U.S. population will be Latino or Hispanic. Our culture is going to play a huge role in shaping the future of the country.”
The residents of the house are planning a range of activities throughout the year, from FIFA-watching parties for football fans to a Days of the Dead commemoration on Nov. 1.
“It’s a home away from home,” Stone said. “The doors are always open.”
Students organize theme houses around a shared interest and provide programming to the campus. The houses, which accommodate 6–10 residents, also give students more freedom and responsibility for managing campus life. The college operates 16 houses that are used for theme housing.