September 11, 2013

SIU set to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Southern Illinois University Carbondale will celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month -- which starts Sunday, Sept. 15, and runs through Oct. 15 -- with a variety of special activities.

The celebration, “Uplifting Dreamers to Succeed,” recognizes the diverse heritage and cultures. The festivities begin with the Hispanic Heritage Month official opening at 6 p.m. on Sept. 16, in Grinnell Hall.  Chancellor Rita Cheng will speak at this kickoff event, which will provide information about campus organizations and involvement opportunities.

There will be numerous opportunities to learn more about the Hispanic population along with customs, history and work throughout the month.  A presentation at 6 p.m., Sept. 19, will highlight the work of the Tucson Samaritans humanitarian group. 

More information about the schedule and events is available at, or 618/453-2127, or by email at

Jose Najar will discuss “Privileges of Whiteness:  Implications for a Latino Future,” from 5 to 6 p.m., Wednesday, Sept. 18, and at noon on Oct. 1, Rob Lopez will present “Where is the Tamale Button?” which focuses on product development in Mexican and Mexican-American markets in the United States. 

The month-long celebration also includes documentaries, a piñata workshop, a Mr. and Miss Latina competition, tacos a la SHPE (Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers), an open mic/karaoke night and a performance of the comedy, “Yo Soy Latina.”

The School of Music will provide a concert of Hispanic vocal and instrumental pieces and Chilean singer, songwriter and guitarist Bandolero Duran will perform as well.  The Hispanic Student Council will host Festival Latino, a time of music, dancing and food, and there’s even an opportunity to enjoy the Mexican picture game of chance called Loteria. 

The Hispanic Resource Center, a unit of the Center for Inclusive Excellence, is coordinating the numerous activities.  Other sponsors include: University Housing, Hispanic Business Association, the College of Business, the Office of Minority Affairs, Latino Cultural Association, Hispanic Student Council, the Spanish Club, Sigma Lambda Gamma, Black Resource Center, Latin American Student Association, School of Music, Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers and Sigma Lambda Beta.

Hispanic Heritage Month became a national celebration of the accomplishments of Hispanics in the United States under President Lyndon Johnson, and expanded since then.  The university’s festivities are among the various celebrations and commemorations the Center for Inclusive Excellence coordinates each year to celebrate the diversity that is SIU.