By Erin Brody, Arts and Culture Editor
On Sept. 15, countries like Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Guatemala, and El Salvador celebrate their independence. In the United States, we commemorate this day as the start of Hispanic Heritage Month. The month-long celebration began around the late 1980’s to early 1990’s, and this year, Saint Vincent College is hosting many events both to celebrate and educate students.
Events such as a cardio dance class and Painting with Heritage have already occurred, and Keila Lobos-Hernandez, the graduate assistant of the Office of Multicultural Student Life (OMSL), assisted in those events and the ones to take place.
Lobos-Hernandez earned her bachelor’s from SVC in 2021, and as far as she could remember, there has been little commemoration for Hispanic Heritage Month, which makes 2022 the first time Saint Vincent has celebrated at a scale as big as this. And, while exposing students to different cultures seems to be the aim of OMSL, they aim at bringing together a group of diverse people in order for each to share something – ranging from sexual orientations to religions – about themselves.
While OMSL is taking charge in this venture, Lobos-Hernandez says these events wouldn’t be possible without the help from other clubs and departments. These clubs and departments Lobos-Hernandez speaks of include the Uniting All People club, the cooking club, Campus Life, and Kristina Mazzenga, Athletics Character Coach and Coordinator for Student Success. OMSL, however, is the one hosting these events.
“I believe there has been a need for students to express themselves and feel welcomed doing so,” said Lobos-Hernandez. “Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month is just one way OMSL is completing those needs.”
Jessica Ventura, a sophomore sociology major, is one of those students Lobos-Hernandez is talking about. Ventura is Latinx and a first generation college student here at Saint Vincent and, admittedly, feels disappointed this is the first time the school is celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month at this level.
“On the other hand,” said Ventura, “I do feel happy that this year we are able to teach and inform people about Latin American cultures and how significant the Latinx community is – not just in America, but around the world!”
Of course, Lobos-Hernandez says, Ventura’s sentiment is the goal of OMSL: “Part of OMSL’s goal is to provide assistance for minority students here at Saint Vincent College whether that is academically, professionally, and/or personally,” said Lobos-Hernandez. “In addition, it is part of our goal to educate others by curating events that promote educational experiences.”
Hispanic Heritage Month will continue until Oct. 15. Events include a trip to University of Pittsburgh for their Latin & Caribbean Festival, and more events are being added constantly! If you have any ideas or concerns about this or anything OMSL is involved with, contact Keila Lobos-Hernandez at firstname.lastname@example.org.