Taylor Surine, Staff Writer
From Sept. 15 to Oct 15, students and faculty at Armstrong, along with the rest of the nation, will be celebrating Latino Heritage Celebration Month. Armstrong Multicultural Affairs and Hispanic Outreach and Leadership at Armstrong (HOLA) will be hosting the events in association with the celebration.
According to hispanicheritagemonth.gov, “The observation started in 1968 as Hispanic Heritage Week under President Lyndon Johnson and was expanded by President Ronald Reagan in 1988 to cover a 30-day period starting on September 15 and ending on October 15. It was enacted into law on August 17, 1988, on the approval of Public Law 100-402.”
HOLA is defined on Armstrong’s website as “a student-focused Hispanic/Latino initiative that provides student support services and cultural awareness programs, which strengthen the collegiate experience of a diverse body of campus constituents and community partners.” HOLA’s president, Gabriela Montes, encourages students to get involved with HOLA, saying, “The main reason I’ve always felt like it is a good reason to be involved with HOLA, especially for Hispanic students, is the sense of family that comes about being involved in the club. It seems like we always have food, dancing, and music (things that all Hispanics are used to having at home). We try to provide a home away from home.”
“I’m a little biased, but I think that Latino culture is so fun and inviting. It’s really all about community. We want students (in general) to come to our events so that we can share our culture. Plus, like I said before, we always have amazing food!”
Assistant Director of Multicultural Affairs and HOLA, Lucy Aradillas also says “HOLA provides a support, networking, mentoring, and leadership development system,” and reminds Armstrong students that “HOLA is open to all students. In fact, some of our most active student leaders in HOLA are not Hispanic/Latino and we serve people from all different races.”
All students can reap the foundational, educational and familial benefits of participating in events with HOLA or joining the club. They offer academic advisement and opportunities for community outreach.
Aradillas encourages students to attend events associated with HOLA. Involvement with HOLA gives students the opportunity to experience Hispanic culture “around the world, but also in the United States and the contributions Latinos have made to our country.”
Armstrong’s celebration kicks off with Fiesta Day on Sept. 14, right before the national celebration begins. The national celebration kicks off with a Celebration of Independence Days in Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Costa Rica on Sept. 15, Mexico on Sept. 16, and Chile on Sept. 18.
Students can expect a wide variety of events throughout the month that bring Hispanic culture to life right on Armstrong’s campus. Aradillas informs students that “We have a Brown Bag Series, a Film Festival, a trip to St. Augustine, Fla., an Iron Chef Competition, and, of course, our annual Fiesta Day Celebration with lots of food and a live band. We are also hosting a couple of events at the Liberty Center. All of our events, except the trip to St. Augustine, which has a $20 fee, are free and open to the public.”
Both Aradillas and Montes are looking forward to Fiesta Day because “it is a tradition and it draws the largest crowd and people from all different walks of life. It is also a time where we all come together to celebrate the importance of diversity here at Armstrong and everywhere,” says Aradillas.
Montes is also looking forward to Salsa Dance Classes with Fit912Savannah on Sept. 26 at the Recreation Center. The celebration ends with Iron Chef: Latin America. Dr. Encarnacion Cruz Jimenez and Dr. Grant Gearhart will compete against Dr. Ana Torres and Dr. Bill Deaver in the Student Union Galley on Oct. 12 at 6 p.m.
For more information on Latino Heritage Celebration Month, students and faculty can go to hispanicheritagemonth.gov or contact Multicultural Affairs.