Hispanic Heritage Month Starts Strong

Written by on September 5, 2023

By Elijah Resano / Staff Writer

Last Friday marked the beginning of the month of September, and to a greater extent, Hispanic Heritage Month. Kansas Wesleyan University will celebrate the occasion through a variety of planned events to celebrate the Hispanic community that thrives on campus.

Kicking it off, Shriwise Dining Hall, also known as “the Caf,” brought Hispanic flavors to the meals and even the atmosphere. Latino music filled the ears of students and faculty as they enjoyed a wide selection of meals derived from Mexican cuisine.

“They were playing Mexican music and they had those little sombreros, and it was just fun,” Scott City Sophomore Isabella Gutierrez-Myers said while describing the environment at the dining hall.

“We visit Mexico, although we don’t really have family there anymore, for vacations and stuff, and I just like the party heritage, and it’s always just fun.”

Gutierrez-Myers majors in Biomedical Chemistry and plays for the KWU tennis team. Both of her parents are Hispanic with Mexican ancestry before settling in Scott City, KS. She moved to Salina as a freshman in 2022. Apart from playing tennis, she also spends time with the Multicultural Student Union organizing events.

Many more Hispanic-themed cuisine is planned to be hosted in the dining hall throughout the month, with the next one on Sept. 6 where students will get to enjoy Puerto Rican café. An outdoor cook-out of authentic Mexican meals is set to be on Sept. 26 by the MCSU.

“One of the things that we are trying to do is affirm all of our students,” Advisor for Strategic Initiatives Dr. Allen Smith said. “The various ethnic backgrounds, cultural backgrounds—personally, myself and we as a university are excited to be able to celebrate Hispanic Heritage month. One of my signs (in the room) says, ‘there is beauty and strength in diversity,’ a Maya Angelou quote.”

In Smith’s past position as Director of Diversity and presently, he passionately advocates for diversity inclusion in the university. He aims to enrich the experience of those who have Hispanic backgrounds on campus, the number of which is growing rapidly.

Hispanic Heritage Month photo

Photo by Elijah Resano / Hispanic Heritage Month flyers adorn KWU Memorial Library’s entrance.

“To see things that represent you, to see things that represent your culture, to see things that represent you as a person and your background—we want to make this campus better because we’re acknowledge Hispanic Heritage month,” Smith said. “The number (of Hispanic students) is growing and we’re happy about that. Not only do we want them to recruit them but to also retain them, we want to graduate them, place them.”

Smith imparts that the university wants Hispanic students to feel welcomed and encourages them to share their cultural experiences.

“Whenever I learn about another culture, it enriches my experience,” Smith added. “And so, if we have these experiences then we’re enriching the experience of all the students on campus. We’re excited to be able to collaborate and come together because it makes our campus collectively better, and us individually better.”


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