Hispanic Heritage kicks off with live music, dance, food

With a live band, food, dancing and a crowd of spectators, the opening ceremonies of Hispanic Heritage Month [HHM] took place at the UC patio on Tuesday.

“We hope to encourage an appreciation for Hispanic culture,” said Nanette Vega, assistant director of the Department of Multicultural Student Affairs.

“We hope students will take in the sights, the sounds, the smells, but most importantly, the people. We have people from the Caribbean, Latin America and other places throughout the world here with us today,” Vega said.

Grupo Prisma, the band that performed at the event, was comprised of a Puerto Rican, a Venezuelan, a Colombian, a Dominican and a Cuban. They played salsa, merengue, cumbia and bachata.

El Zol 95.7, a local Latin radio station, held a live broadcast of the event.

Representatives from UM salsa groups Salsa Con Sabor and Salsa Craze were also present to promote the salsa classes offered at the Wellness Center and to give lessons to those interested.

“It was a lot of fun to see all the effort that was put into this event,” said Sheila Blakely, a staff associate of student activities and member of the HHM committee. “It was nice to see the collaboration between students of different backgrounds coming together and feeling great.”

Arroz imperial, picadillo, platanos maduros and salad were served during the event.

“The food is great,” freshman Joel Lopez said. “The dancers are really good; they know what they’re doing.”

“I’m Hispanic and I came to see if they could actually attempt to play some real music and make some real Hispanic food,” junior Sammy Salazar said.

“I don’t ever listen to this type of music. It’s a nice change,” sophomore Tasha Murray said. “They don’t play this type of music in Portland, Oregon.”

“I think it’s a good idea that they’re doing this during lunchtime,” said senior Mayleen Garcia. “It’s a great way to introduce Hispanic culture to the entire student body.”

“I think everyone should take advantage of these events,” Garcia said.

“We hope everyone walks away with a sense of Hispanic culture,” Danaidys Rodriguez, HHM committee chair, said.

“I hope everyone comes to the many events planned,” Dr. Pat Whitely, vice-president for student affairs, said during a welcoming speech to the audience

HHM committee members are still needed to participate in and work with the events planned through Oct. 15.

“I hope more people become a part of the Hispanic Heritage Month committee,” Rodriguez said. “We encourage everybody to join us. We’re a diverse campus with many different points of view.”

For any questions regarding HHM or for information on how to join the committee, contact Nanette Vega at 305-284-2855 or via e-mail at nvega@miami.edu.