Bloomfield College students and staff celebrated the beginning of a special cultural experience Oct. 15, as the institution’s Center for Student Leadership and Engagement (CSLE) held its annual Hispanic Heritage Month Opening Ceremony in the College’s Student Center.
Celebrating the various Hispanic cultures that decorate Bloomfield’s diverse student body, the day’s events included musical performances, poetry readings and traditional cuisines. The program also offered heartfelt remarks from guest speaker Maryann Diaz, a Kean University graduate who obtained her Master’s Degree in Social Work from Rutgers University in 2012. Having previously collaborated with CSLE and Bloomfield’s Office of Residence Life, Diaz encouraged the crowd in her address to be proud of their Hispanic heritage, and to embrace their culture and all of its wonderful aspects.
“It is so important for our students to understand that diversity goes beyond color, that we are all a part of a diverse group that make up this great institution,” Coordinator for Service Learning and Diversity Initiatives Nereida Montijo said. “Our celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month and our Opening Ceremony are some of the many programs we do throughout the year, and it’s a great way for our students and staff to come together and celebrate their respective cultures.”
The event is part of a month-long initiative sponsored by numerous campus organizations, including the Center for Career Development, the Educational Opportunity Fund, Residential Housing (REH) and various fraternities and sororities. Other programs included Mundo Latino, where students hosted tables filled with various cultural activities, games and historical facts pertaining to the Latino culture. A Latino Male Empowerment Workshop will be held on Nov. 12, and a Closing Ceremony on Nov. 14 will conclude a cultural celebration of one of Bloomfield’s largest student body populations.
“All of our initiatives here at Bloomfield aim to achieve two goals; education and awareness,” Montijo said. “We hope our Hispanic Heritage Month programming provides that for our campus community. We look forward to a great rest of the month, and look forward to supplying students with more quality diversity initiatives throughout the year.”