“I think just as Carolina as a whole, just being appreciative of CDS workers and everything that they do for us is something that we need to remember every day,” Sanabria said.
UNC’s Phi Chapter of Lambda Pi Chi hosted its first thank-you dinner for Latinx CDS employees in 2017.
The sorority initially approached CDS management with the idea of a dinner for all CDS employees, but management said that would be 400 people. The chapter then chose to plan a smaller event to ensure a quality dinner and more personalized feel.
This year, the theme of the dinner is Una Noche de Premios (A Night of Awards). In addition to decorating the dining room and serving the food, the Hermanas of Lambda Pi Chi plan on handing out awards and personalized gifts.
Sara Hernandez, a sophomore Latin American studies major who joined Lambda Pi Chi last fall, said she had a chance to meet more CDS employees at the dinner last year and take the time to express the depth of her gratitude.
“On the daily, we’re like, ‘Thank you for the food,’ or, ‘Hey, how are you doing?’ But to have a specific moment where we’re able to fully embrace them and thank them for the work they do – there was a lot of tears,” Hernandez said. “Everyone was probably crying in the room. I know I was.”
Andrea Prego, a sophomore business major and the fundraising chair of Lambda Pi Chi, lived in Granville Towers her first year, so she didn’t get to experience the CDS community in the same way as some her friends, who would later become her Hermanas, did.
“For me, seeing how they’ve impacted my friends’ lives and their time at Carolina, and also seeing that from an outsider’s perspective, has definitely made realize how integral they are to the atmosphere and the Carolina community,” Prego said.
Prego also said the work of older Hermanas in previous years helped guide the committees in planning for this year’s dinner.
Prego said planning for the dinner began in February. Hermanas of Lambda Pi Chi created several committees in charge of different aspects of the dinner, such as decorations and food.
Other Latinx community members and UNC organizations have pitched in as well, including the Carolina Covenant Scholars Program, which provides financial aid, mentoring, academic and personal support services and other resources to low-income students and families.
Students can show their support by donating to the dinner’s GoFundMe, which surpassed its initial goal of $250 in under 20 days, or contacting a Hermana of Lambda Pi Chi about more volunteering opportunities.
“I think there’s honor in expressing gratitude to those that work for other people, loving on those that love us,” Hernandez said.