Grand Valley celebrates Hispanic Heritage


Katherine Arnold, Staff Reporter

The Hispanic Heritage Celebration works to bring students together in remembrance, open up group discussions and commemorate generations of community and culture. Each year, multiple campus organizations come together to celebrate National Hispanic Heritage month, Sept. 15 through Oct. 15, a longstanding tradition that continues to bring students together in new ways. 

This year, the Office of Multicultural Affairs, Latin American & Latino/a Studies Program, Center for Women and Gender Equity, Latino/a Faculty Staff Association, Spectrum Health, Campus Activities Board (CAB) and the Latino Student Union have all come together to create a nearly two-month-long series of events that foster a sense of community through the recognition of tradition and important topics of cultural heritage.

“The Hispanic Heritage Celebration will showcase a piece of diversity within the Grand Valley community,” said Angela Polanco, a member of CAB who is in charge of hosting their event for this year’s celebration, Karaoke & Coco. “Events like this facilitate conversations about the education and importance of inclusion.”   

The entire celebration is a way to bring the student body together and highlight the history and beauty of ethnicity and tradition. 

“Events like this create a welcoming, open space for students to be their true authentic self,” Polanco said. “It opens doors for hard conversations and connects the community to necessary resources Grand Valley offers.” 

From Sept. 16 to Nov. 8, seven events will be held throughout the celebration. The first to kick off the events was Café Con Leche last Monday, Sept. 16, where students enjoyed traditional pan and cafe con leche through the contribution of the Latino/a Faculty Staff Association. 

On Tuesday, Sept. 24, the event Karaoke and Coco will include Latin American cuisine followed by a showing of the movie “Coco.” 

“We’re starting at 5 p.m. with karaoke and appetizers and desserts in the Kirkhof Grand River Room,” said Jess Filmore, President of the Campus Activities Board. “That will be come and go as you please, and then at 7:30 p.m., students can bring blankets or pillows, we’ll have chairs and we’ll be showing the movie.”

The last September event will occur on the 26, La Peña. Conceptually an idea surrounding grassroots culture and social justice, this event will showcase the diverse talents of the Latino community. 

Two speakers will be visiting Kirkhof in October: Camila Trefftz and Peggy Robles-Alvarado. Trefftz’s talk on Oct. 2 will focus on family separation and border camps on the United States/Mexico border to explore the complex topic of ethnicity. Robles-Alvarado’s talk on Oct. 10 will be discussing the importance of honoring cultural rituals and celebrating the importance of womanhood. 

Oct. 31 is the first day of Día de los Muertos, the Day of the Dead. In the Niemeyer Living Center Lobby, the multi-day celebration of those who have passed away will begin with this event to bring together the community in recognizing the significance of ancestry. 

Last but not least, the Hispanic Heritage celebration will close with the Latino Student Union Dinner and Dance Nov. 8. The event features food and dance, alongside musical entertainment and a chance to win prizes. 

Every year this celebration stands as a testament for the student body that GVSU continues to recognize the importance of remembrance and traditional celebrations.