Every year, UNCG takes the time to celebrate and acknowledge Hispanic Heritage Month from September 15 to October 15. The Office of Intercultural Engagement (OIE) hosted special events throughout the month so that students could engage in dialogues about culture and community while immersing themselves in Latin American culture.
National Hispanic Heritage Month celebrates the anniversaries of independence for several Latin American countries – Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua on September 15; Mexico’s declaration of independence on September 16; and Chile on September 18.
Events were free and accessible to all, hosted virtually and in person through interactive activities and festivities.
Bachata night, Latinx support night, Loteria games, Flamenco lessons, and more were all organized by UNCG departments and clubs this year. It is also an opportunity for student groups such as Ritmo Latino to get involved.
The Latin dance club is open to all UNCG students interested in learning about different genres of Latin dance such as salsa, bachata, merengue, and cumbia.
Celine Borkowski, the head officer of Ritmo Latino, says acknowledging intersectionality is important. “I’m Mexican and Polish. And for the longest time, I didn’t feel connected to either of those two cultures. So in high school, I started Latin dancing in our Latin dance club in high school. And that really connected me to my Latin roots.”
Ritmo Latino helped Borkowski navigate her own culture, a theme she feels is consistent with the month. “Hispanic Heritage Month celebrates not just your Hispanic heritage. It also celebrates all the accomplishments within those other identities. It’s essential that we celebrate our Hispanic heritage and what Hispanics have done and their accomplishments. There’s so much history.”
Ritmo Latino also has a dance team that performs at UNCG and community events.
“The diversity is why I came to UNCG,” says Borkowski. “You can walk up to someone and their identity could be anything at UNCG. That’s what I really enjoy since I’m a queer, mixed person.”
Borkowski says Ritmo Latino embraces that campus-wide inclusivity. “We want to create those spaces for the students where you are enough. Join these different events and showcase what you are interested in.”
Other clubs that took part in this year’s celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month were Corazon Folklorico, the Spanish Club, and ALPFA UNCG.
UNCG strives to support student groups’ success by providing resources such as meeting space, product making, and marketing opportunities, while pairing with on-campus organizations such as the OIE which networks with other multicultural clubs.
Story by Dana Broadus, University Communications
Photography by David Lee Row, University Communications
Celebrate cultures and heritage
The Office of Intercultural Engagement creates and delivers innovative, student-centered co-curricular programs that nurture and cultivate a life-long passion in students to be kind, to be brave, to know themselves, and to serve others.