In celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month, Latino-oriented groups at UR, under the direction of the Spanish and Latino Student Association and Lambda Upsilon Lambda Fraternity Inc., have planned events that will share various aspects of Latino culture with the UR community. The events include film screenings, art screenings and a Latino Cultural Fair.

Plans for Hispanic Heritage Month began before the start of classes when S.A.L.S.A. members went on a retreat where they discussed what events they wanted to sponsor.

“We compiled our ideas together and tried to make the best programs that would make the campus aware of the Hispanic and Latino culture” S.A.L.S.A. President and senior Cat Nguyen said.

Since Hispanic Heritage Month gives all Latino-focused groups the opportunity to host events, S.A.L.S.A. and Lambda Upsilon Lambda Inc. have created a calendar where all groups involved can advertise their programs. They have also posted the list on the Currents Web site.

According to Nguyen, this year’s events will be politically oriented, whereas last year focused more on social events.

Events include Dinner at Danforth, Latino Feud, a discussion about police brutality, an interactive display of influential Latinos and the Third Annual Hispanic Heritage Month Show in Lower Strong Auditorium.

The most recent event was the first Annual Latino Cultural Fair, held on Tuesday in the Flaum Atrium at the School of Medicine and Dentistry. The fair featured cultural displays about different Latino countries, as well as a performance by S.A.L.S.A.

The event was organized by the Latino Professional Alliance, a group dedicated to building a positive work environment at UR for Latinos. The group model is based on models used in businesses to support and expand local businesses.

Director of Educational, Curricular and Diversity Affairs Gladys Pedraza-Burgos, M.S. is on the LPA’s steering committee.

“We want to provide an environment that is welcoming, encourages learning and fosters mutual respect,” she said.

Another group that is hosting events is the Memorial Art Gallery. They organized TRANSactions: Contemporary Latin American and Latino Art, which will open Oct. 6 to coincide with Hispanic Heritage Month.

MAG has also planned its own event series to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month, including lectures by Stephanie Hanor of the Museum of Contemporary Art in San Diego and Chilean artist Alfredo Jaar.

S.A.L.S.A., ???, and the Hartnett Gallery have co-sponsored the exhibit’s launch party, set for the night before the exhibit opens. Students who would like to go may purchase tickets at the Common Market or ROCTkts for $10.

On a whole, Hispanic Heritage Month is designed to increase awareness of the Hispanic community. Health Project Coordinator in the Community of Preventative Medicine Racquel Garcia, a member of the LPA steering committee, expressed this sentiment when she explained her organization’s goal.

“We want to bring our name out to staff, students and faculty,” she said.

Fleming is a member of the class of 2010.Additional reporting by Ben Wrobel.

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