Hearing from our Hispanic members  

Every year from September 15 – October 15, we recognize and celebrate the contributions and influence of Hispanic Americans to the history, culture and achievements within our sisterhood and the world. As Hispanic Heritage Month comes to a close, we asked three of our sisters to share a little more about their experience as Hispanic members of Pi Beta Phi.  

Barbi Braaten, Pennsylvania Theta  

How do you celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month? 

My family likes to listen to influential Hispanic artists like Selena Quintanilla as well as reflect on how far we’ve come as a culture. Living in Texas, the Hispanic culture is a big part of our strength — from our food to our businesses and leaders. Every day is a celebration of who you are and even how different cultures incorporate Hispanic heritage into their lives. 

How has your Hispanic heritage influenced your membership in Pi Beta Phi? 

Going through recruitment, I noticed there was not an equal amount of diversity among my New Member class (though I believe it was only because not a lot of diversity pledged Panhellenic groups.) However, my culture was celebrated almost immediately! My sisters asked me questions about my culture, family, and food which made me feel important and proud to call myself a member. Each member’s story was celebrated on a personal level that made us feel connected through our differences. 

Marcella Martinez, Alabama Beta 

IMG_2078.pngHow has your Hispanic heritage influenced your membership in Pi Beta Phi? 

I feel like I have been able to share a lot of my culture with my chapter. As the Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, I have also been brainstorming ideas on highlighting Hispanic culture. We are currently working on a YouTube channel for our philanthropy in which our members will be featured reading kids’ books. Some of these books will be read in Spanish! 

How do you celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month? 

Since I am originally from Nicaragua, I love sharing pictures on my Instagram of how beautiful the country is. I like to post pictures of the beaches as they have been on the top ten in the world for surfing. I also enjoy posting pictures of the volcanoes since one thing unique about Nicaragua, is that you can volcano-board! 

AmyAnn Villanueva, Mississippi Beta 

How has your Hispanic heritage influenced your membership in Pi Beta Phi? 

I think taking risks is an integral part of living a fulfilled life. If it weren’t for the sacrifices that my grandmother had to make to come to this country and make a better life for herself and future generations, I wouldn’t be here. This definitely played a role in me choosing a school 800 miles from home and being the first in my family to go Greek. Because of this HUGE leap of faith, I have the privilege of calling 400+ world-changing women my sisters.  

How do you celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month? 

In celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month, I have been cooking more of the recipes my dad would use that were passed down from my grandmother, which is by far my favorite way to embrace my Hispanic heritage.  

Published October 15, 2020