Festival en la plaza

The Hispanic Festival is set to be celebrated again this year

On Sept. 16 Ferris will once again celebrate the Hispanic Festival in the quad in hopes of spreading cultural awareness to students and the community.

The Hispanic Festival is free to all students. This was made possible by the Hispanic Student Organization (HSO), Office of Administration and Records, Office of Multicultural Student Services (OMSS), Finance Division of Student Government, and the Hispanic Heritage Month Planning Committee.

Students from all kinds of backgrounds and the Big Rapids community will be able to come enjoy various activities including traditional craft making such as paper flowers, Aztec masks, and maraca painting. There will also be a piñata, Latin music and traditional folk dancing, as well as authentic Mexican food and drink.

In addition to the fun of the event, the educational and growth promoting value of the festival are not to be missed.

The Hispanic Festival is one of the events celebrating Hispanic Heritage month, and each of these events is used to expose students to Hispanic language, culture, and history. Tables set up by the Hispanic Students Organization will be in the quad, where students are encouraged to obtain information about Latin American culture.

OMMS has been coordinating Hispanic Heritage Month activities for over 20 years at Ferris. OMSS Assistant Director Michael Wade noted that the festival consistently grows in impact and attendance and that this type of community cultural involvement is what Ferris needs.

“Students of all backgrounds attend so that they can learn more about themselves, as well as others, which is a goal of all OMSS cultural programming,” said Wade.

Junior Anna Escamilla plans on attending the festival this year, and looks forward to enhancing her knowledge of the culture as well as enjoying the various activities in the light-hearted atmosphere.

“The festival is a great opportunity for students to have a better understanding of the Hispanic culture in a fun and exciting environment. I can’t wait to go this year so that I can learn some Latin dances and try all the delicious Mexican food,” said Escamilla.

Nereida Alvarado, HSO President, will be dancing traditional folkloric dances at the festival, and sees expanding her knowledge of various cultures as not just a good idea, but an enjoyable experience.

“Personally, I love learning about different cultures. Having students from different backgrounds makes it a more interesting experience because you can learn so much and still have fun,” said Alvarado.

Alvarado also sees the festival as an opportunity for students to learn not only about Hispanic culture, but other cultures as well.

“Ferris is a very diverse University and doing the Hispanic Festival brings other organizations together in support of each other when they have an event that represents their culture,” said Alvarado.

Co-advisor of HSO Natalia Carvhalo-Pinto encourages all students to attend, and realizes the benefit of events such as these in stirring discussions on issues in the Hispanic community. In addition, Pinto stressed the value of culture immersion in the work world, and its value to Ferris students in preparing them to be effective communicators and problem solvers for their prospective careers.

“Students must learn about diversity and about other cultures so they are more prepared to enter the work force.  Students should realize that once they embark in their careers, they will encounter many people that are different than they are, that come from different backgrounds, and they will have to work with them,” said Pinto.

Other events put on by the HSO this month include a Hispanic Dinner at Westview Dining Facility on Sept. 21, Latin Night Club at 7 p.m. in the Dome Room, which will include free Salsa and Merengue dance lessons, and Portraits of Courage, a live play at Williams Auditorium showcasing the lives of several Latinos who have greatly impacted America’s society and culture.

For more information on the Hispanic Festival and other Hispanic Heritage Month events, contact Natalia Carvhalo-Pinto at carv9@
ferris.edu. n