The Student Newspaper of DePaul University

The DePaulia

The Student Newspaper of DePaul University

The DePaulia

The Student Newspaper of DePaul University

The DePaulia

Bye-le: MESA’s ‘love letter’ to DePaul’s graduating Latine community

Preciosa Ríos

Looking around the room, guests are dressed from head to toe in sequins, fringe, florals, beads and masks. Groups huddle to the front, creating dance circles and cheering on friends, posing for selfies, playing games and munching on delicious food. New friends are made, old friends reunite and the community becomes one for this special night. Guests could expect this and more at Bye-le 2024, which took place the evening of Friday, May 3. 

 Bye-le is an annual event hosted by the Movimiento Estudiantil de Solidaridad y Apoyo, a DePaul club also known as MESA. The event’s name is a play on words that incorporates “bye” for the farewell to DePaul’s Latine graduates and is pronounced like the Spanish word “baile,” which means “dance.” Bye-le 2024’s theme was “carnaval,” and guests were encouraged to honor the theme with “cultural cocktail” attire.

 MESA is a student organization with 13 officers and over 100 members, according to their DeHUB page. The club was founded in 2022, having since hosted over 49 events while acting as a safe space for Latine students to find community and celebrate their roots, according to the page. Their mission statement says, “through facilitating events we will provide mental, social, academic and professional resources while emphasizing our cultural identities.”

 “My biggest hope is that this event is a breath of fresh air and fun for everyone, so they feel properly celebrated for their academic achievements,” Flavio Diaz, MESA’s current president, said.

Diaz said that he was most excited for the food at Bye-le. Chartwells, DePaul’s official university caterer, cultivated a custom menu for the event that featured flavors from Latin culture. The menu was taste tested by MESA members before the event. The final menu included vegetable empanadas, sweet plantains, chips and guacamole and Cuban cigars, which are spicy picadillo meat, wrapped in dough and deep fried.

 The entertainment committee for the event chose Chicago native Eva Maria to DJ for Bye-le. Diaz said that they have chosen a DJ of Hispanic or Latin descent since last year. Chicago has a strong Latin music scene, and the committee found Maria through the Instagram’s of other performers they follow. Maria combined classic cultural pieces with recent pop beats to create what Diaz said was an unforgettable music experience.

 One of the highlights of the evening was a Latin dance performance from Camila Guadalupe and Arelys Estrada. Guadalupe is president of Fuerza Latina Dance Club, DePaul’s official Latin dance club, with Estrada as treasurer. The club’s mission statement says that it aims to bring together students of different backgrounds by building community through Latin dance and expanding the Latine community at DePaul. Guadalupe said that the pair had met this year and put the routine together only a week and a half before the event.

Outside of the performances and food, attendees had a variety of activities to keep them entertained. Guests hit the dance floor, dancing to the DJ’s mixes. Extra large sets of the games Connect Four and Jenga allowed guests to challenge their friends. Face painting booths were set up in the back, and patrons could decorate their faces with glitter. Photo ops were available with a tripod and balloon backdrop for guests to commemorate their night with a selfie.

 “The event turned out better than we expected,” Diaz said. “We had such a great turnout and amazing energy. We even had to kick people out by the end, so we could clean up.”

 Diaz said that the one takeaway he hopes that everyone knows about Bye-le is that it is an opportunity for Latina and Hispanic students to get together and get involved in a community that actively supports them. Joining MESA will make this support a year long experience. Diaz said they are always looking for new members, as it is the students, not the university, that create the support the club needs to continue.

Jarely Ruiz, a DePaul sophomore, was excited to find the event.

 “I am a transfer student at DePaul this year, so I was so excited to meet people from my community at Bye-le,” Ruiz said.

Diaz said that Bye-le is MESA’s “magnum opus” and will carry on as they plan to bring back the curated menu and decorations from this year’s celebration. Hoping to include more performances for next year , the club seeks to highlight different artists in the community while continuing to make progress as a space for the Latine community. 

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