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The University Star




The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

Texas State embraces diversity during Hispanic Heritage Month

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Texas State advertising sophomore Fiona Zupke observes “Tell Me Who You’re With & I’ll Let You Know Who You Are,” by Daniel Ramos, Monday, Sept. 19, 2022, at Alkek Library. Zupke works as a receptionist at the Wittliff Collections art gallery.

As a Hispanic-Serving Institution (HSI), Texas State celebrates the cultural history and contributions of students of Hispanic ancestry. As the community prepares to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month, students, faculty and staff reflect on Latinx history and what it means to them.
Sept. 15 to Oct. 15 is a time of reflection and recognition of the contributions and influence of Hispanic Americans. Texas State has embraced this celebration since 1968 when President Lydon B. Johnson, a Texas State alumnus, issued the first Hispanic Heritage Month presidential proclamation.
Texas State alumnus Eugene Lee joined the Department of Theatre and Dance in 2006 as an artist-in-residence as the director of the Black and Latino Playwrights Celebration. Lee said Texas State has created a supportive and inviting environment for all cultures. His opportunity to showcase stories of Latino individuals whose voices have been silenced goes to show the university’s mission of inclusion.
“We have to allow for all people’s stories to be told with clarity and truth,” Lee said. “Hispanic Heritage Month means an opportunity to be exposed to some new cultural information.”
The exposure of culture shows a progression of ideals that encourages students of Hispanic descent to be proud of who they are while also showcasing their stories and experiences. The university’s efforts to highlight the art and other educational contributions made by those of Hispanic descent creates a welcoming environment.
Texas State was given the HSI designation by the U.S. Department of Education in 2011. Reflective of the Hispanic-rooted city of San Marcos, 31.4% of staff and 39.7% of students at Texas State identify as Hispanic as of 2021.
Cristal Rodriguez, a marketing senior and president of the Texas State Hispanic Business Student Association (HBSA), values Texas State’s efforts to promote inclusion and celebrate diversity.
“Having a community that is welcoming of all cultures makes the transition from home to college easier,” Rodriguez said. “This way, the university can create a home away from home for every student of every background.”
To commence Hispanic Heritage Month, Texas State observed HSI Week in accordance with the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU) from Sept. 12-16. The first day, Community Day, consisted of a come-and-go event in the LBJ Student Center Ballroom to engage the community and teach students about the campus resources available to them.
Noche de Cine on Sept. 15 consisted of a screening of the movie “Selena” projected onto the Alkek Library wall. The evening also included music, vendors and a performance from Grupo Folklórico Ocotochtli.
The comfort found in Texas State’s celebrations of culture brings many students back to their roots. Rodriguez recalls the Hispanic Heritage Month celebration on campus during her freshman year in 2019. Bringing aspects of Latino culture onto campus make students like Rodriguez feel at home.
“I remember they were giving out paletas and had the university mariachi playing outside,” Rodriguez said. “It was very cool to see the university bring authentic parts of Mexican culture out for all students.”
Aside from these musical, artistic and culinary acts of recognition, Texas State actively creates a supportive environment for the Hispanic community through education, inclusivity and professional development.
The Department of Sociology launched the Latino/a Studies minor in 2018 for students to learn about Latinx influence as well as the social, political, economic, historical and cultural processes that impact Latinx communities in the U.S.
Genesis Reyes, a marketing junior and vice president of the HBSA helps students embrace their culture while also excelling as leaders. As a Latina student from El Salvador, Reyes can confidently state that the university does an excellent job of supporting and welcoming the Hispanic and Latino community.
“Just one example of how Texas State supports the Hispanic community is by offering Spanish-speaking tours to prospective Bobcats and their families,” Reyes said. “This is a way for students to feel at ease in their surroundings, and celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month is just one way for us to represent different Latin American countries and students.”
The remainder of Hispanic Heritage Month at Texas State will feature guest lectures, community open dialogues and artist spotlights.
Trying new Latin restaurants, dancing and listening to music by legends like Selena, Celia Cruz and Marc Anthony, are all ways that Reyes and many other students with Hispanic roots embrace and celebrate the month.
“Hispanic Heritage Month is all about dancing, eating delicious food, and having a good time with friends and family,” Reyes said. “Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month is just one way for us to celebrate and represent different Latin American countries and students.”
For more information on Texas State’s upcoming Hispanic Heritage Month events, visit https://hsi.txst.edu/.

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