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VSU kicks of National Hispanic Heritage Month

On Friday, Sept. 16, VSU’s Department of Modern and Classical Languages hosted their event for National Hispanic Heritage Month and a celebration of Mexican Independence Day.

The event was held in the Student Union from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and featured art, music, dancing, food and information on Hispanic heritage and diversity. Students were invited to learn more about the department and participate in these activities.

There were tables set up by MESA, L&IFE, LASA, NAIS, CAMP, CIP international students, Spanish Club, MCL and the Odum Library Spanish-Language Collection. These clubs also plan to host more events through Oct. 15, including a live music event, dance lessons and a food bash.

Culture and heritage play an integral part in the lives of those of any culture, and Hispanic culture is no different.

“[Hispanic heritage] means a celebration of presence, to be proud of your culture and your heritage,” said Ericka Parra, a Spanish professor and member of the Department of Modern and Classical Languages.

Displays were placed across the Student Union, full of information about countries, club information and resources.

Influential Latin Americans was a display outside of the Rotunda, where the photos and stories of Latin American celebrities and trailblazers were posted for students to read. They told the stories of their successes despite the hardships and how their legacies live on.

“A lot of times, people don’t really believe in my capabilities just because I’m a minority, so I lose out on opportunities for it,” said Aldo Madrigal Olivarez, a junior biology and Spanish major at VSU.

Many of these clubs passed out treats, flyers, cards and names of places to go to support their clubs and their community.

A temporary art gallery was set up behind Starbucks, where paintings could be submitted by students to showcase their capabilities and talents. Many of these paintings focused heavily on Hispanic culture and how it presents in the modern day.

“Everyone has ethnicity, everyone has heritage, and we think it’s important that we celebrate that,” said Sandra Y. G. Jones, VSU’s director of Student Diversity and Inclusion. “Everyone deserves to have their culture seen.”

The event was the first of many. The next event is the Presentation on Gilman Scholarships for Study Abroad on Monday, Sept. 19, and the Spanish Club will host their Zumba! event on the Palms Quad on Tuesday, Sept. 20.

Written by Bailey Wilson, Assistant Copy Editor. Photos courtesy of Bailey Wilson.

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