Hispanic Heritage Month Brings Diverse Programming to Campus

October 1, 2018

By Kerrin Norton '19

A poet, a film festival, and a lesson in Dominican Bachata (a form of dance) are only a few of the diverse programs being held at the college this fall in celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month. The month-long programming aims to honor the history, culture, and contributions of Central and South America, Spain, Mexico, and the Caribbean.

“There’s something for everyone,” says Wayne Currie, director of the Intercultural Center, who encourages students to attend at least one event during the month. “It’s important for students of these demographics to see their cultures recognized on campus,” he adds, “But also, we hope all students can gain an appreciation for these cultures, and of course, have fun!”

The college kicked off the celebration on September 18 with the “Spoken Word,” an event with writer, poet, playwright, educator, and activist, Gabriel Ramirez. Festivities continued on September 20 with “An Evening with Dr. Steven Larson” and a showing of HBO’s "Clinica de Migrantes." Larson is an associate professor of emergency medicine at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, and the executive director of Puentes de Salud, a nonprofit organization that promotes the health of Pennsylvania’s largely growing Latino immigrant population.

Multicultural Day on September 22 during Homecoming Weekend offered the community another opportunity to experience Hispanic performers and cuisine. Most recently, seven fine arts faculty performed a Hispanic Music Concert featuring Villa-Lobos, Ginastera, Lecuona, and Bizet amongst others. Participating faculty included: Andrew Haringer, piano; Elizabeth Blood, piano; Molly Lozeau, piano; Rebecca Jeffreys, flute; Joe Hartnett, guitar; Sharon Baker, soprano; and Sean Parr, tenor.

Events will run until October 23, including Salsa Madness, Make a Piñata, and finally, Latino Groove, an opportunity to learn Dominican Bachata, a dance originating from the Dominican Republic in the Caribbean Islands.

This year’s schedule of events is co-sponsored by the Modern Languages and Literatures department and Intercultural Center as well as Campus Ministry, Nursing department and a grant from the Diversity and Inclusion Innovation Fund.

Hispanic Heritage Month began in 1968 under President Lyndon Johnson as a weeklong observation of the histories, practices, and contributions of American citizens with Hispanic and Latin American heritage. In 1988, President Reagan expanded the program to its current length, which runs from September 15 to October 15. In order to commemorate the significant achievements and influences of Hispanic and Latino Americans, communities across the country hold festivals and educational events that celebrate diverse cultural traditions.

Additional Events

October 2, 6 p.m.
Spanish Mass with Fr. Marcos
Abbey Church

October 3, 4 p.m.
Language Resource Center (Alumni 4th Floor)

October 9, 7 p.m.
Salsa Madness
Living Learning Commons

October 10, 12 p.m.
Make a Piñata!
Living Learning Commons

October 17, 5 p.m.
Bilingual Panel
Language Resource Center (Alumni 4th Floor)

October 23, 7 p.m.
Latino Groove: Learn Dominican Bachata
Dana Center

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