Hispanic Heritage Month is Sept. 15 through Oct. 15, and to celebrate, the Holmes Cultural Diversity Center at Mississippi State University is hosting multiple events to highlight Hispanic and Latino culture.

Kei Mamiya, assistant director of HCDC, said the main annual event for Hispanic Heritage Month is Salsa in the Streets. The Latino Student Association, Ballroom Dance Club and HCDC will host the fun, unique activity to showcase Latino and Hispanic cultures. Salsa in the Streets will allow participants to learn dances from Latin American countries and enjoy food from local restaurants.

To provide a more enriching experience for MSU students, Mamiya said he wanted the HCDC to collaborate with various campus organizations to create a successful month of events.

In addition to hosting Salsa in the Streets, Mamiya encourages students to follow the Holmes Cultural Diversity Center on social media and look at the activities calendar on Cowbell Connect to learn about other opportunities to experience new cultures.

Alongside HCDC, the International Student Advisory Board is sponsoring several events to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month.

Sophomore software engineering major Aaron Williams, a representative of the ISAB, said ISAB and LSA are collaborating on an event called Coffee, Culture and Conversation. Participants will discuss how the pandemic has affected Latin America.

Williams said he hopes the events this month will allow students to learn more about Hispanic Heritage Month and Latin America, and that students will encounter new perspectives and interact with people from different backgrounds.

Clayton Lott, a junior electrical engineering student, said he appreciates the welcoming atmosphere MSU provides by hosting multi-cultural events.

"Mississippi State helps welcome Hispanic people by being a culturally diverse place open to those of all backgrounds," Lott said. "Since America is such a melting pot of culture, it is very important to shine a light … so we can appreciate what we have and where we came from."

Representatives from student organizations and the HCDC said they hope to be intentional in their programming and assign value by shining a light on Hispanic Heritage Month.

Like Lott, Williams highlighted the importance of ensuring each student on campus feels at home at MSU.

"It is essential that we do our best to make every demographic of students feel appreciated and comfortable in Starkville, including all of the school's Hispanic students," said the ISAB representative. 

Mamiya explained the significance of Hispanic Heritage Month and why it is important to learn the holiday's history. 

"History month is a mixture of a lot of things, like providing opportunities for people to engage in different cultures and activities," Mamiya said, "but at the same time (it is) for them to learn about the history of their communities." 

Mamiya believes Hispanic Heritage Month exists not only for those within a particular community but for all students to immerse themselves in a new culture to appreciate and celebrate the Hispanic and Latino communities. 

 "The whole point is for students to be exposed to a different community, a different culture," Mamiya said.

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