Campus Latinx community prepares to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month


Courtesy to GVSU

Lauren Formosa, Staff Reporter

Tuesday, Sept. 15 kicked off Hispanic Heritage Month in the United States. During the period leading up to the kickoff, members of the Latinx and Hispanic community across the states celebrate their history, culture and achievements of others from Latin American and Spanish countries.

Grand Valley State University is no exception, with many of its Latinx students preparing to celebrate within the coming weeks.

“Hispanic Heritage Month is important to the Latinx community because it allows Latinos to showcase the importance of their culture,” said Latino Student Union President Adrian Hall. “It allows you to honor the memory of those greats that have gone before and have helped earn us the freedoms that we have today.”

Student organizations such as the Latino Student Union and Laker Familia have worked tirelessly each year to plan events across campus to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month. In doing so, they aim to show its importance and celebrate Hispanic culture not only with the university’s Latinx population, but also the entire campus community.

In the past, Laker Familia along with the Office of Multicultural Affairs would host events that aimed to celebrate Hispanic culture through cuisine, the arts and a Dia de los Muertos celebration as well as amplifying Latin American voices, sometimes inviting guest Latinx speakers to give talks about relevant issues facing the community.

In addition, the Latino Student Union would host general meetings dedicated to influential Latinx men and women throughout history, closing off the month with a dinner dance themed specifically around Hispanic heritage.

This year’s Hispanic Heritage Month celebrations will look different to stay in accordance with GVSU’s COVID-19 guidelines and regulations. Events hosted by the Office of Multicultural Affairs will be held virtually through zoom, with the exception of a Dia de los Muertos altar students can visit in-person at Kirkhof Center.

Similarly, Latino Student Union will be taking their celebrations to social media, where they will spend a week highlighting influential Afro-Latinx men and women as well as creating an “In Memory” collage for Dia de los Muertos to celebrate friends and family who have passed.

While this month is especially important to the Latinx community, others outside are welcomed to join in the celebration. All members of the GVSU community are welcomed to go to any and all Hispanic Heritage Month events and celebrate alongside fellow Latinx students, staff and faculty. 

“I feel that by allowing allies to participate in this sort of celebration, it allows for a better understanding of each other,” Hall said. “However, I do not like when allies celebrate Latinx culture in the wrong way. If someone is going to celebrate something, I do feel that they should research and ask, before celebrating one’s culture incorrectly.” 

Hispanic Heritage Month holds a special place in the hearts of many in the Latinx community. Not only can they celebrate their culture and educate others in the process, but they can also show their pride in their heritage and the obstacles past Hispanics have overcome to get to this point in Latinx history.

“We take our culture very seriously,” Hall said, “Being able to have a month that is dedicated to us showcasing our true culture is something to be grateful for. Latinos have struggled each and every day to get to where they are today, and by hearing stories during Hispanic Heritage Month gives a better understanding to those who aren’t as educated.”