EDITORIAL: De-stress by celebrating Hispanic heritage

Ortonville senior Kiara Church dances during the Reggaeton event on Monday, Sept. 19, in the Center for Student Inclusion and Diversity.

We are four weeks into our first normal semester since COVID started. Right about now, you’re probably feeling the pains of homework piling up and the stress of upcoming exams.

If you were here before or during the pandemic, you might have noticed a few differences on campus – more people, more in-person classes and, especially, more events.

We know you’re stressed; we are too. But finding ways to add a little fun to your day can make the daily grind that much easier.

Attending events is not only a good way to blow off a little steam, but it's an ideal way to explore your and other cultures.

Right now, there are many opportunities on campus and in the community to learn about Hispanic culture.

This year Hispanic Heritage Month, in accordance with the national theme "Unidos: Inclusivity for a Stronger Nation," is focused on community building events, according to Alejandro Gradilla, assistant director for Latinx/Hispanic American Student Engagement.

“We do want to celebrate our cultures on campus for a sense of community and a sense of inclusivity to show our students that we do our best to try to make them feel like they are a part of campus,” Gradilla said.

Through Oct. 14, over a dozen events feature everything from a low-rider car show to homemade tortilla making.

Gradilla said the events, which are all free and open to the public, are an opportunity for people outside of Latin American cultures to learn about and experience new traditions.

“We’re trying to create … spaces for (students) so they can come and learn what it is that we grew up experiencing in our homes,” he said. “Spaces where normally students wouldn’t have an opportunity to come and learn about these cultural arts or cultural activities.”

Take advantage of these opportunities to learn about your peers and maybe even step outside of your comfort zone.

The Office of Multicultural Academic Student Services (MASS) has worked with various registered student organizations.

“It’s created by students, for students,” Gradilla said. 

In addition to the MASS events, there are more chances to learn about Hispanic culture in the Mount Pleasant community.

The Latino/a Alumni Chapter is celebrating homecoming with several events from Oct. 7-8. The first event, an annual career-awareness information session, will feature “world-changing Latino/a professional” Mark Ybarra, Miranda Valtierra and Dan Segura. They will discuss career advice and after, take part in a Q&A.

It’s getting to be that time of the year where, every direction you look, another assignment seems to pop up. Take a few minutes, or an hour at most, out of your day to de-stress by attending an event and learning about Latin American culture.