Angela Vargas and Shannon Sandles celebrate the start of National Hispanic Heritage Month on Sept. 15 Franis Pereyra-Jimenez

KU’s Latino Caucus Reception welcomed faculty and students on Wednesday, Sept. 15 to kick off the start of National Hispanic Heritage Month with Latin music and food in the Multipurpose Room of the McFardland Student Union Building (MSU). The 30-day celebration has provided the university with an opportunity to become aware of the Hispanic and Latino cultures.

Under President Lyndon Johnson, Hispanic Heritage Week was established in 1969 and then expanded to cover a full month—beginning Sept. 15 and ending Oct. 15—by President Ronald Reagan in 1988. Sept. 15 is the anniversary of the independence of five Latin American countries: Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua and thus became the start date. In addition, Mexico and Chile celebrate their independence days on Sept. 16 and 18, as well.

The goal of the Latino Caucus Reception was to introduce new students, especially those with diverse ethnic backgrounds, to university organizations.

“We want Latinos to know that we are here to make sure they succeed academically,” stated KU President Dr. F. Javier Cevallos in an interview with reporter Anthony Orozco of the Reading Eagle.

In addition, fraternities, sororities—including that of Lambda Sigma Upsilon and Mu Sigma Upsilon—and other KU clubs presented poster-board displays of their organizations to encourage student networking.

In a Reading Eagle article, Cevallos said that while he promotes academic excellence in all students, inspiring motivation in Latino students is something he holds close to his heart.

According to Cevallos, KU has experienced a steady increase of Latino students enrolling at the university. Furthermore, the fall 2012 academic year has marked the largest minority enrollment with Latino students making up 10% of the semester’s approximately 2,000 freshmen.

KU will continue to host events for National Hispanic Heritage Month throughout various locations on campus.

By: Marianella Orlando

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