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Events | FeaturedSeptember 14, 2022

2022 Hispanic Heritage Month to feature Salsa, Service, and Student Perspectives

This Thursday, the University of Arkansas – Fort Smith will begin a month-long slate of events celebrating Hispanic and Latinx Heritage Month, which runs from September 15 through October 15. The events, which include a kick-off event for all ages at the Fort Smith Public Library, salsa dancing under the Bell Tower, a Spanish-language university recruitment event, and a public open forum discussion, are hosted by the university’s Hispanic Heritage Month Planning Committee. Each of the events will feature snacks, foods and drinks that celebrate Hispanic culture in addition to planned activities.  

“Hispanic Heritage Month is an opportunity for everyone to learn about people who may look differently or speak differently than themselves. It’s a chance to learn about Hispanic culture, to meet in the middle, talk, and enjoy good food and good laughter,” said Cristina Castorena, a professional advisor with the R.O.A.R. First-Year Advising Center, “It's important that the students who identify as Hispanic or identify with Latin culture feel included and celebrated, and at UAFS, that's the honest truth. And beyond celebrating our students and employees, Hispanic Heritage Month is also about exposing people who don’t identify as Hispanic to our culture and welcoming them into conversations.”

Beyond the active events, the UAFS campus will celebrate Hispanic Heritage visually with flags lining the Smith Pendergraft Campus Center and displays in the Boreham Library. The university will also highlight Hispanic students, faculty, staff, and alumni on its social media pages through day-in-the-life takeovers throughout the month.

“This goes for any every type of community, but particularly Hispanic students can sometimes feel excluded, so It’s important that we bring people together so they can enjoy their time, but also know that they are a part of something bigger,” Castorena said. 
“And when we’re recruiting, it’s important that we show our Hispanic students and their families that college is doable, its affordable, it can happen and it's right here in your city.”

The Sí Se Puede en UAFS event will bring together resources from across the university campus including financial aid, academic advising, enrollment management, and student-led clubs and organizations, all with Spanish-speaking representatives to break down language barriers and help parents and students feel equally involved in the university admissions process. “It’s so important to show that once you get here, you're not doing it alone,” she continued. “That's the key. We have a whole group of people or staff and faculty that are ready to help.”

The full slate of events includes:

  • Chisme in the Breezeway
    September 15 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
    Campus Center Breezeway

  • Hispanic Heritage Month Kick-off
    September 15 from 5:30-6:30 p.m.
    Fort Smith Public Library - Main Library

  • Cafecito y Pan Dulce: Coffee, Culture, and Conversation
    September 22 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
    Campus Center Fireplace

  • Sí Se Puede en UAFS: Yes We Can at UAFS
    September 29 from 5:30-7:30 p.m.
    Campus Center Reynolds Room

  • Second-Annual Salsa at the Bell Tower
    October 6 from 6:30-9 p.m.
    UAFS Bell Tower

  • Breaking Generational Stereotypes: Learning More About the Hispanic Student Perspective (A Student Open Forum)
    October 13 from 12:15-1:30 p.m.
    Windgate Theater