Hispanic Heritage Month celebrates fifth year

Hispanic Heritage Month 2002 events will start with opening ceremonies on September 17 directed by a committee from the Department of Multicultural Student Affairs Office and sponsored by a number of student organizations.

In past years Hispanic Heritage Month (HHM) was celebrated for the entire month of October, but this year events will occur from September 15 to October 15, the designated dates of the national celebration.

“We expect the turnout to be higher than last year, particularly because we have many organizations participating this year that weren’t involved last year,” said Nanette Vega, Assistant Director of Multicultural Student Affairs.

The HHM committee worked during the summer break and school year to organize 13 events over the 4 weeks, including the opening ceremonies held September 17, from 12-2 p.m. on the UC patio.

“We hope to expose as many students as possible to the activities for HHM,” said Vega. “For that reason, we have planned many of our events during the mid-day hours when many students have a break from classes.”

Sophomore Kathy Fordyce is excited about attending at least one event. “The events look exciting. They are a great way for students to meet new people. I am going to try to attend the Comedy Jam on September 26.”

During the events, live music will be provided by the local Latin band Grupo Prisma and a local radio station El Zol 95.7. Also, UM salsa groups Salsa con Sabor and Salsa Craze will be available for dance lessons. Food will be for sale at La Cocina Latina and Sebastian will be available for pictures.

Other events planned include Noche Latina/Latin Night, Festival Miami ’02, A Cuban Comedy Jam, a poetry slam, a domino/card tournament, Festival Miami ’02, a student/faculty breakfast, Latinos 101 and the Hispanic Heritage Closing Ceremony.

“I’m pretty excited about meeting other students on campus with my same interests. I am looking forward to Noche Latina/Latin Night. I love to dance,” said Scarleth Padilla, senior.

All events are free to UM students unless otherwise noted.

The HHM theme is “Pasado, Presente y Futuro” (Past, Present and Future), involving a fifth year of the celebration of Hispanic culture since 1998 when former President Clinton declared Sep. 15 to Oct. 15 National Hispanic Heritage Month.

Nanette Vega, advisor of the HHM committee, hopes that the events will inform the public about Hispanic Culture.

“Hopefully the events we will be presenting will encourage students to get involved with HHM next year and other student organizations because these programs are for students, by students,” said Vega.

“But most importantly, I hope HHM will help foster the public’s awareness, understanding and appreciation for the Hispanic Culture.”

HHM is also sponsored by C.O.I.S.O, the Division of Enrollment Services, the residential colleges, Hurricane Productions, International Student and Scholar Services, Phi Iota Alpha Fraternity, Lambda Theta Alpha Latin Sorority, Lambda Theta Phi Fraternity, the Lowe Art Museum, the Office of the Vice President of Student Affairs, the Puerto Rican Student Association, Toppel Career Center, the UM School of Music and the Wellness Center.

“I think what will make HHM great is the fact that so many different organizations are involved in the planning and scheduling of the events,” said Tara Johnson, sophomore. “There just seems like there’s going to be a lot to do.”

“If it’s anything like last year, I’ll be the first one out there to celebrate,” she said.

Besides sponsoring HHM, the Department of Multicultural Student Affairs also provides other support services to African, Asian, Hispanic, and Native-American students throughout the year including book loans, a computer lab, a resource library and the Hammond Times Newsletter.

“Our organization strives to ensure that all our students succeed at the highest level during their tenor at the University of Miami,” said Vega. “Our organization is open to all students on campus, regardless of ethnicity.”

For additional information, contact the Department of Multicultural Student Affairs at 305-284-2855 or access their website at www.miami.edu/msa to see the calendar of events. Printed calendars will be available during opening