Hispanic Heritage Month got off to an early and festive start at Wayne State University during the Latina/o/x Welcome Back Reception on Sept. 13. The event, held in the Student Center Building, was hosted by the Latinx Faculty and Staff Association (LFSA) and co-organizing groups.
The sixth annual event was attended by WSU President Kimberly Andrews Espy, Ph.D., who mingled with students, faculty and staff; took photos with event organizers; and delivered remarks.
“As you may be aware, I came to Wayne State from the University of Texas at San Antonio, an institution that is known for redefining higher education as a next-generation Hispanic-thriving university,” said Espy. “While there, I had the privilege of working closely with Excelencia in Education, a Latina-led organization that accelerates Latino student success in higher education by the promotion of student achievement in all areas.
“My work with Excelencia, as well as other organizations, has been driven by my motivation to improve outcomes for our Latino students, a mission I am committed to continuing while at Wayne State — and one that I’m looking forward to advancing with all of you. We have started the process to join the President’s Network for Latino Student Success, which is an important first step in this work.”
Espy also read the official proclamation declaring Hispanic Heritage Month at Wayne State. It reads:
WHEREAS: The United States Congress has designated September 15th to October 15th as Hispanic Heritage Month, and Wayne State University joins in this tribute and celebration by acknowledging the many accomplishments and contributions that Hispanic Americans have made in our society; and
WHEREAS: The original weeklong commemoration was changed by Public Law No. 100-402, which took effect on January 1, 1989, to National Hispanic Heritage Month that is to include the 31-day period beginning September 15 and ending on October 15; and
WHEREAS: The objectives of National Hispanic Heritage Month are to create a greater awareness of the contributions of Hispanic Americans to American culture, to illustrate the diversity of the Hispanic American community, and to encourage a greater curiosity within young people about the rich history and cultural heritage of Hispanic Americans; and
WHEREAS: Hispanic influence is evident in American culture in, among other things, music, art, science, food, humanities, and business and trade; and
WHEREAS: At Wayne State University, Hispanic Americans have graced our campus community with invaluable leadership and intellectual achievements. They are members of our faculty, our staff and our student body. In recognition of the numerous achievements and contributions made by Hispanic Americans, we reaffirm our commitment to encourage and support them through equal educational and employment opportunities.
NOW, THEREFORE: I, Kimberly Andrews Espy, President of Wayne State University, hereby proclaim September 15th to October 15th as Hispanic Heritage Month at Wayne State University, and I encourage the entire campus to join proudly in this celebration.
The welcome back event also provided an opportunity to let students know that they are welcome; to introduce students, faculty and staff to relevant units and resources; and to help develop social connections across campus.
A highlight of the event was a lesson of traditional dance steps led by the Ballet Folkórico student organization. Guests also enjoyed browsing and shopping a mercado, or “marketplace,” of student and alumni vendors and engaging in an informal networking and resource fair.