Hispanic Heritage Month Kicks Off at UTC

By Lorena Grajales, News Editor-

National Hispanic Heritage Month is a celebration of Hispanic culture, traditions and positive influence to the United States, lasting from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15.

During this period, The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga has planned several events for students to learn more about Hispanic history and get involved.

After two to three months of preparation, the Office of Multicultural Affairs finalized plans to offer engaging virtual, in-person and hybrid programs for students. The office partnered with UTC’s history department to bring a history lecture series, with guest speaker Dr. Natalia Milanesio of the University of Houston. Also new this year are the series of workshop that speak to under-represented Hispanic students facing challenges with financial aid.

According to Asst. Director of the office of Multicultural Affairs, Christopher Stokes, the university has plans to include local Hispanic community agencies such as “La Paz” and “Semilla” into events to bring more diversity and inclusivity. Stokes also shared the purpose of spreading Hispanic culture on campus is to be more accepting of every student.

“The more we learn, the more we grow. The more knowledge we have, the more accepting and inclusive we can be,” he said.

A virtual kickoff event happened on Tuesday, Sept. 15, hosted by the office of Multicultural Affairs, in partnership with Mocs Dining. Staff and students explored Hispanic heritage, learned the origins of the month-long celebration and heard from guest speakers of UTC’s Hispanic Outreach Leadership Association.

Afterwards, Mocs Dining featured traditional Hispanic dishes at Crossroads Dining Hall for lunch and dinner, where students enjoyed exploring different Latin foods. UTC junior Estefani Gorostieta-Vera explained why sharing Hispanic culture this way is an important feature on campus. 

“It makes you feel at home and a sense of belonging. It’s also part of out Hispanic cultures that can be shared with others. I also think that other students will appreciate our school is cultural diversity,” she said.

According to H.O.L.A. President and UTC junior, Alexis Serna, the student group was heavily involved with the preparation for events this month. Some events students can look forward to this month are Screen on the Green, Virtual Game Night, Fiesta Fridays, Freedom Talks: Path to Freedom & Beyond the Dream and more. Serna shared why it is important to share Hispanic culture and understand personal experiences.

“Hispanics, we’re seen I guess as less than…I think people don’t realize how hard it is to leave your home country to somewhere that you’ve never been and grow up, learn the language and I guess survive. People don’t know those sacrifices,” he said.

To view upcoming events for Hispanic Heritage Month, visit https://www.utc.edu/multicultural-affairs/hispanic-heritage-month.php.

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