This year, from September 15 to October 15, people from all over the nation are celebrating National Hispanic Month. The holiday represents the freedom and independence of five nations: Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua. Hispanics, use this holiday to celebrate their heritage. Even at UAA, students are taking part in the holiday.
“It reminds me of who I am,” UAA student, Angelica Ruiz-Rodriguez, said when asked why she chose Spanish for her major. Now she is assisting Dr. Patricia Fagan, who is the Coordinator of the Spanish program, and Marva Watson, the Interim Director of the Office of Campus Diversity and Compliance, with all matters regarding Hispanic National Month. She hopes of becoming a translator and has thoughts of working with the government while also bringing about awareness of her Hispanic heritage.
The month is being celebrated across America, giving all Hispanic people the chance to celebrate their heritage and also for other Americans to celebrate the Latino influences that are found within the American culture. Throughout this month, there will be many opportunities for students to take part in the national holiday.
The diversity across the campus is large. However, there is a lack in celebration of these rich and fulfilling harmonies, so as the months go by, the Department of Diversity and Compliance hopes to change that.
“As you get more people to participate, there will be more celebrations,” Ruiz-Rodriguez said, who is very much a part of the diversity movement on campus. She is a member of the Spanish Club, which meets every Thursday evening at 8 p.m. in the Starbucks Cafe in the Social Sciences Building. Ruiz-Rodriguez, Dr. Fagan and Marva Watson plan to create more events around campus in the future to bring cultural awareness to the community during National Hispanic Month.
Some of the ideas for future events include: dances, a club whose focus is on Latino influences in the United States, and a group that focuses more on the history of Hispanic students. Ruiz-Rodriguez emphasized that more awareness is needed, including the common misconception that Cinco de Mayo is Mexico’s Independence Day, when in fact, it is a celebration of the Battle of Puebla.
“Ever since I was 7, I dreamt of coming here,” said Ruiz-Rodriguez. And now, as she views her career at UAA and notes the activities she is participating in to rouse awareness of not only National Hispanic month, but the Latino culture as well, she realizes that her dreams are finally coming true. Which goes to show that as Ruiz-Rodriguez stated, “Nothing is impossible.”
For more information on how to contact and participate in the Hispanic events and other cultural events around campus, students can contact Marva Watson at [email protected] or can reach Angelica Ruiz-Rodriguez at [email protected]