By: Mark Reyes, Newswriting Intern firstname.lastname@example.org
The Center for Student Leadership and Engagement concluded a month’s worth of events dedicated to Hispanic heritage Nov. 20, holding a special closing ceremony in the Richard A. Levao Multipurpose Room in the Franklin Street residence hall.
Celebrating Bloomfield College’s Hispanic student population, the day consisted of musical performances, traditional Cuban cuisine, poetry, dancing, and words from guest speaker Luis Martinez, former admissions counselor at Morris County Community College and Latino cultural painter/artist.
Distinguished students received accolades to highlight the program, with Brenda Quinones and Melina Reyes winning the Outstanding Hispanic Student Leadership Award and Johnny Vega receiving the Rising Hispanic Student Leader Award. The students were honored for making a significant impact in their communities.
"This is a month when we recognize all the Latin American countries, and as students and organizations we come together to celebrate the importance of being Hispanic,” said Reyes. “Hopefully it shows that we are more than just music and food, but that we are full of rich history and culture, and that we are here to make a difference.”
Throughout the month, CSLE has held events exemplifying Hispanic culture. Some of the events included a Bachata Dance Workshop, Spanish Food Sale, Latina Luncheon, and the “Raise Your Flag Diversity Workshop”. The events were designed to demonstrate Hispanic culture, raise awareness and promote signature historical figures.
The Association of Latin American Students, the Center for Student Leadership and Engagement, the Center for Career Development, Educational Opportunity Fund (EOF), the Caribbean Student Organization (Caribso) and several fraternities and sororities sponsored the month-long program.
"Many Latino students enjoy the month’s activities because it instills a sense of pride, promotes unity and highlights their culture in a positive light. Hispanic Heritage Month is a time for all students, staff and faculty to learn about Latino culture and traditions through an array of educational, festive and professional activities,” said Nereida Montijo, coordinator for serving learning and diversity initiatives and committee chair for Hispanic Heritage Month. “Hispanic Heritage Month is significant because it brings a sense of inclusiveness and appreciation to the college campus. It shows that Bloomfield College recognizes differences and values diversity.”