Sep 222009
Authors: Vince Crespin

CSU kicked off its annual Hispanic Heritage Month on Sept. 15, and will feature a wide range of events designed to celebrate all aspects of Hispanic culture over the coming weeks.

The month-long celebration, which lasts until Oct. 15, will feature an assortment of activities from Salsa music concerts to art exhibits at CSU and throughout the Fort Collins community at Harmony Library, Poudre River Public Library, Council Tree Library and Northside Aztlan Community Center.

Lori Peek, a race and ethnic relations professor, said it is vital to have these types of functions on campus to promote contributions from all ethnic groups.

“Ultimately, events such as Hispanic Heritage Month, can help promote dialogue, break down stereotypes and improve tolerance,” Peek said. She went on to say that she feels fortunate to work at an institution that promotes the crossing of racial and ethnic lines.

Hispanic Heritage Month was started in 1968 by the 90th Congress of the United States as a one-week recognition of Hispanic contribution to American Culture. It was later changed to a 31-day observance. CSU is in its 12th year of celebrating this national event on campus.

One of the more prominent events will be Pulitzer Prize winning author Sonia Nazario’s presentations, “Enrique’s Journey: The Face of America’s Newest Immigrants” and “Our Newest Neighbors: Single Mothers from Central America and Mexico,” which will take place on Tuesday, Oct. 6 from 4 to 5:30 p.m. and Wednesday, Oct. 7 from noon to 1:30 p.m., respectively, in the Lory Student Center.

Other events include a fashion show and art exhibits, as well as an array of presenters speaking about Hispanic culture, literature, the effect of Hispanics on the economy and racism.

However, former Associated Students of CSU Vice President Quinn Girrens said she feels the month is not as widely publicized as it should be.

Girrens said it’s great that the school is even holding Hispanic cultural events, but said that alone is not enough.

“Honestly I think that if I went up to anyone on campus and asked them about Hispanic Heritage Month, not too many people would know about it. It needs to be more publicized,” Girrens said.

Rich Salas, assistant director of El Centro and chairperson for CSU’s Hispanic Heritage Month, said that planning for the month has been in the works since late May and is excited to see all the sponsors hard work come to fruition to promote diversity.

“This needs to be a step toward us celebrating diversity every day, not just one culture’s influences over 31 days,” Salas said.

Staff writer Vince Crespin can be reached at

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