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Hispanic Heritage Month features events on campus

Students connect with Hispanic culture and with each other through on-campus events.

Janel Shoun-Smith | 615.966.7078  | 

Students dancing salsa in 2019

Lipscomb students celebrated Hispanic Heritage Month, Sept. 15-Oct. 15, with a variety of events designed to help them learn about the Hispanic culture and to connect with more students on campus.
Hispanic Heritage Month is celebrated nationally as a time to recognize and honor the culture and people of Hispanic descent who have contributed to the country.  
“Our goal is to make students aware of the month and to increase their understanding of how to properly celebrate another culture,” said Candace Williams, the director of community life over the Office of Intercultural Development (OID). She and four student interns coordinated several events throughout the month.
“We wanted events that reached a variety of students and educated in a fun and interactive way,” said Williams.
The on-campus events kicked off on Sept. 15 with two traditional Latino desserts, tres leches cake and flan, served free for students in the Bennett Campus Center. On Sept. 22, the focus was on the Dominican Republic, with free empanadas from Merengue Cafe.
Oct. 9 brought Salsa in the Square, a free salsa lesson from a professional instructor held outdoors. On Oct. 14, Student Life hosted a trivia night with questions focused on the Hispanic heritage theme.

Bison statue painted for Mexico

Schyler Jones, a junior majoring in Spanish, history, and international affairs, is one of four student interns in the OID office who planned the Hispanic-themed events.
 “The empanada event exposed students to cuisines and taught them some history behind the food,” said Jones. “We ordered from Merengue Cafe, a minority-owned local restaurant, which also helped students to learn about businesses they can support.” 
“The salsa event was a great lesson for students not only in learning a cultural dance, but also in learning about the influences that created the dance. The instructor talked about how dancing is for anyone, which opened the door for students to understand more than just the physical movements of salsa,” said Jones.
Students have responded positively to the events, Jones said, especially the salsa event, where multiple students stayed afterwards to speak with the instructor about how to get further involved.
“I hope that students will be able to realize how diverse and complex Hispanic heritage is,” said Jones. “I think a lot of times Latinx communities are put into one box, but really there is so much beauty to learn from the different traditions of each country. I hope it has made them want to learn more and to connect with more people.”