September 12, 2005

Latin influence in the U.S. is theme of observance

by Bonnie Marx

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- "Latin Influence in the United States" will be the focus of Latino Heritage Month at Southern Illinois University Carbondale. The national observance runs from Sept. 15 through Oct. 15 each year.

Keynote speaker for this year's celebration will be Daniel Ibarra-Fitzgerald, assistant to the director for the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services and a 1989 SIUC graduate with a bachelor's degree in social work.

He was previously director of programs and services for Casa Central, the largest Hispanic social services agency in Chicago.

Ibarra-Fitzgerald, who will speak Tuesday, Sept. 20, holds master's degrees in social service administration and management, and is working on a third master's degree in business administration. In addition to his work with needy and at-risk populations, he also has taught classes at Loyola University and Northeastern Illinois.

In 2004, he was named the SIUC School of Social Work Outstanding Alumni.

Enhancing students' understanding of the value of diversity is among the goals of Southern at 150: Building Excellence Through Commitment, the blueprint for the development of the University by the time it celebrates its 150th anniversary in 2019.

All events are free unless otherwise noted.

The schedule for Latino Heritage Month at SIUC is:

Saturday, Sept. 10

• Ninth Annual Welcome Picnic, 2 p.m. at Bucky's Haven (next to Campus Boat Dock). Free food and entertainment.

Thursday, Sept. 15

• Latino Greek 101, 7 p.m., Student Center Old Main Lounge. A discussion about being both Latino and Greek at SIUC.

Friday, Sept. 16

• Festival Latino, noon-4 p.m., Free Forum area. Free food, cultural performances and music.

• Fifth Annual Poetry Night, 7 p.m., Mélange café, 607 S. Illinois Ave.

Tuesday, Sept. 20

• Keynote speaker: Daniel Ibarra-Fitzgerald, 7 p.m., Student Center Ballroom C.

Wednesdays, Sept. 21, 28 and Oct. 5

• Build a piñata, 6 p.m., Student Center Craft Shop. Cost is $10 per piñata. Design, build, decorate and fill a piñata.

Friday, Sept. 23 (Saluki Family weekend)

• Noche de Gala, 7 p.m., Student Center Ballroom D. Salsa dancing and live music, with free salsa dance lessons.

Thursday, Sept. 29

• La Raza Social, 7 p.m., Student Recreation Center Alumni Lounge.

Saturday, Oct. 1 (Homecoming weekend)

• Town meeting on dual language education, 3 p.m. forum and meeting, 5 p.m. reception, Lawson Hall Room 161.

Sunday, Oct. 9

• Friends and Neighbors, 1:30 p.m., St. Francis Xavier church, 303 Poplar St. Authentic Latino meal.

Tuesday, Oct. 11

• Latina Sex Project, 7 p.m., Student Center Old Main Lounge. Research and testimonials.

Thursday, October 13

• Closing ceremony, 7 p.m., Newman Center, 715 S. Washington St. Live entertainment, food. Admission is free and open to all.

Latino Heritage Month sponsors are the Hispanic Student Council, Delta Phi Mu sorority, Sigma Lambda Beta fraternity, Sigma Lambda Gamma sorority, SPACE (Special Programs and Center Events), Latino Heritage Month committee and Student Development — Multicultural Programs and Services.

For more information, get in touch with Student Development at 618/453-5714 or visit