Latino Heritage Month events continue

Janet Pernell, Multicultural Reporter

Latino Heritage Month has been an annual monthly celebration since 1994, and it goes from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15. Each year students, faculty and staff should expect educational components, extracurricular components and hands-on workshops.

During the month, there are dance lessons; walking tacos, taco ingredients with Doritos in a bag; pupusas, a Salvadorian thick corn tortilla; and late-night dance parties.

There are also collaborations with Thomas and Taylor dining halls to gather some traditional Latino dishes during lunch and dinner to celebrate the month.

Academic adviser Juanita Cross said she likes how Latino Heritage Month is early in the year because it is a target for freshmen and new students.

Cross said she likes the variety of events that the month holds and said people should step out of their comfort zone with this month.

“We want to celebrate those students that we have on campus that have that ethnicity but we also want to make it open to everyone else,” Cross said. “I really think it’s important to increase the cultural awareness on campus, so you do not need to be a Latino to come to our events; we want you to learn and have fun.”

There will be three sets of Latin dance lessons today, and because it is Family Weekend, students’ families are welcome to participate. The dance lessons will be at 6 p.m. in the Student Recreation Center.

Cross said this year’s Latino Heritage Month has been good because she has been hearing a lot of good things about it. She said this month has so much diversity to it, and it is more than one country.

“I think what makes us unique is that we try our best to represent as many parts of Latin America as we can,” Cross said. “Here in the United States, we’re used to and accustomed to Mexico and Mexican cuisines and things like that.”

Cross said you do not have to have a Latino background to participate, and everyone is welcome to do so.

“I think it’s useful for everybody there because there’s so much that you can learn by going to these events,” Cross said. “I think there’s a lot of things you can learn about Latin America throughout the month.”

She also said Latino Heritage Month is a way for students to celebrate and learn.

“I would think it just an appreciation for the diversity of our campus and to just see them represented with this month,” Cross said. “I think even staff and faulty learning something new.”

Cross said she likes the students’ feedback and energy during this time, and said she received more feedback this year.

The goals for Latino Heritage Month are to increase the amount of people that come to events and people to make new friends, Cross said.

Cross said she also wants students to feel welcome when coming to the events.

“I really hope students feel comfortable enough to go to these events and come with an open mind and have a good time and maybe walk away with a new appreciation,” she said.

Janet Pernell can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected].