Students celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month with trip to Detroit

Bridget Janis, Staff Intern

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For Hispanic Heritage Month, the Student Program Board (SPB) and Oakland University Student Congress (OUSC) planned a trip to Detroit. With a capacity of 56 OU students, a bus full of students explored the authentic Hispanic culture shown in Mexicantown, Detroit, on Saturday, Sept. 29.

“There’s so much culture around us, I feel like, sometimes, we are in this little bubble of Rochester,” said Destinee Rule, diversity and inclusion director for OUSC. “You don’t really know what’s outside of this area, but there’s so many diverse places that are just 30 minutes up the street.”

The trip began at Eastern Market, which has everything from fruit and vegetables to flowers and local artist crafts. With over 250 independent vendors, attendees can pick up some fresh produce or vintage antiques all while exploring the area.

“We are trying to highlight the Hispanic culture that we have in the local community,” said Flavio Di Stefano, diversity director for SPB. “There are places near us like Detroit that are just full of culture that was influenced by immigrants that came to this area.”

Next, the group continued to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month by walking around and exploring the Detroit Institute of Arts.

“Going to the DIA is normal for a lot of people but especially during this time, with it being Hispanic Heritage Month, I think it’s important to continue to increase the knowledge that we have about other cultures that are surrounding us,” Rule said.

The main focus of the visit to the DIA was seeing the Detroit Industry Murals by Diego Rivera. Rivera is a Mexican artist that created a 27-panel mural about the Ford Motor Industry located inside the DIA. Sept. 29 also happened to be the second-to-last day of the DIA’s “Star Wars and the Power of Costume” exhibit, a bonus for the students attending.

“They have so much culture and so much liveliness in that small city of Mexicantown,” Rule said. “We also have renowned artists that are from Hispanic background, like Diego Rivera, that are being portrayed in one of the biggest museums in Detroit.”

Lastly, to finish off the trip, the group arrived at Armando’s Mexican Restaurant for a complimentary buffet style dinner.

“Once we start to appreciate our own culture and the Hispanic culture in Detroit, then other people are going to start to recognize it, and that’s why, with the students, we are trying to highlight it, because they can also spread the word,” Di Stefano said.

According to Rule, the trip to Detroit was not only fun, but a place for students to learn and appreciate art and culture.