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College honors Hispanic heritage

Claire Frazier | Tuesday, October 2, 2007

While a number of Latin American countries celebrate their independence during September and October, students at Saint Mary’s have been celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month.Hispanic Heritage Month was established in 1989 and has been celebrated at Saint Mary’s ever since. The month begins on Sept. 15, the eve of Mexico Independence Day, and ends Oct. 15. Other Latin American countries that celebrate their independence during these weeks include Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Chile, and so the month is dedicated to acknowledging and celebrating the diverse Hispanic cultures. Festivities began Sept. 16 at Saint Mary’s with a Mexico Independence Day lunch. The Noble Family Dining Hall was filled with Mexican music and decorations, and the aroma of tamales and tacos had students waiting in long lines for their meals. “I had never heard of Hispanic Heritage Month till I walked in for lunch,” freshman Megan Johnson said. “I liked the music and all the decorations they had up, but my favorite part of it all was the Mexico flag cake.”Other activities are also planned so students can experience the different aspects of Hispanic life, from religion to recreation, said Thelma Garcia, vice president of La Fuerza. A bilingual Mass was held Wednesday in Le Mans Holy Spirit Chapel.The newest event this year was the Salsa Night on Sept. 27. The Student Center was transformed with colorful ornaments and a live band, Orquestra Couribe. Salsa dancer Kelley FitzGerald praised the idea of Hispanic Heritage Month.”I think the culture is great,” she said. “It’s family oriented and celebratory about life.”The sponsors include La Fuerza, the Office of Multicultural Affairs, Student Diversity Board, Campus Ministry, Board of Governance, ICIP and Sodexho. Upcoming events include the movie panel on Frida, starring Salma Hayek, at 8 p.m. Friday in Vander Vennet and Latin Flavors, a presentation of Latin American cuisine from 6 to 8 p.m. on Oct. 8 in Reignbeaux Lounge.