Golden Gate Express | Promoting Health and Wellness Kicks Off Hispanic Heritage Month with Latin American Art Night

Students celebrated the start of Hispanic Heritage Month Thursday at West Campus Green for Health Promotion & Wellness’ Latin American Art Night.

First commemorated in 1988, Hispanic Heritage Month celebrates the history, culture and contributions of Hispanic Americans. The celebration begins in the middle of the month because it is the anniversary of the independence of five Central American countries: Costa Rica, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala.

Graduated and Acting Deputy Director for HPW Basic Needs Initiatives Liz Gandaracomes from a mixed Mexican family.

“I really like bringing my culture into the community in SF State because almost 30% of our student body is Latinx so I want to make sure they feel included,” Gandara said. “Even from the snacks we provide to the kind of experiences they can see, a bit of their culture is incorporated into the programming.”

Food and snacks such as Gansitos and Turbos Flamas were served while students listened to Hispanic music and painted canvases on the lawn.

Freshman and first-generation Mexican American Celeste Martinez was one of many students celebrating.

“For me personally, it’s [Hispanic Heritage Month] means celebrating my heritage and my culture in the United States because it’s not as accepted,” Martinez said. “It’s a way for many of us Latinos to come together and unite.”

SF State is currently home to 36.75% Hispanic or Latino students. Although Latinx students make up such a large portion of the student population, retention and graduation rates fell every year.

Jamillah Moore, vice president of student affairs and enrollment management, said the university is committed to closing these equity gaps.

“We continue to work thoughtfully and consciously in our efforts to ensure that every member of the campus community feels a sense of inclusion, significance and belonging,” Moore said in an email to the campus scale.

Earlier this year, SF State welcomed a new Latinx Student Center. The center aims to make students feel comfortable and welcomed whenever they need a helping hand.

Emmanuel Padilla, inaugural director of the Latinx Student Center, views Hispanic Heritage Month as a time to showcase Hispanic culture as a whole.

“Just having a month to put more of a spotlight on the students, staff and community at State to feel noticed, embraced and equally affirmed,” Padilla said.

The Latinx Student Center, located in Student Services Room Breezeway 140, will host an event every Wednesday for the remainder of Hispanic Heritage Month.

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