OU celebrates National Hispanic Heritage Month with cultural events

Sept. 15 marked the beginning of National Hispanic Heritage Month. The celebration first began in 1968 under President Lyndon B Johnson, originally known as Hispanic Heritage Week. In 1988, Hispanic Heritage Week was expanded by President Ronald Regan to a month-long observance concluding on Oct. 15. 

In recognition of this celebratory tradition, Oakland University has organized numerous events to celebrate Hispanic culture.

Throughout the month there have been numerous screenings of significant cultural films, including “Los Lobos,” “Me llamaban Tiger King,” “Los niños del éxodo” and “On The Divide.”

Other programming has consisted of a Hispanic Heritage Month Book Club meeting and a Community Service Project at the Hispanic Outreach Center.

Hispanic Heritage Month committee member and Assistant Professor Adolfo Campoy-Cubillo asserts that these events are designed to be inclusive for the OU community. 

“This is not an exclusive celebration,” Campoy-Cubillo said. “This is a celebration for everybody — Hispanic or not Hispanic to join. Hispanics come in many different races, shapes and forms, so it is important that we acknowledge the differences.”

There is also programming designed to raise awareness for mental health in the Hispanic community. The upcoming “Fur Angels” event, taking place on Tuesday, Oct. 11 in the Oakland Center Habitat from 12-2 p.m., will incorporate specially trained dogs that help students deal with stress.

There are also networking opportunities scheduled. The Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE) Networking Event will be held on Oct. 13 from 12-1 p.m. in the Engineering Center atrium. Students will be able to meet with professionals from engineering and computer science companies with Hispanic connections. 

Campoy-Cubillo expressed that another highlight of the celebrations will be the Film Festival Viewing of, “Heli.” This picture was directed by Amat Escalante, a world renowned film director who has also directed episodes of the popular series, “Narcos.”

“It’s a big deal for us,” Campoy-Cubillo said. “[Escalante is] joining us for the Q&A session, and it’s going to be very interesting. His films deal with how to represent the violence in some areas of Mexico. [The films inspire] you to think and get you to question the situation. They’re not complacent, you’re not just watching a film and ignoring the reality.”

The month long celebration will conclude with closing ceremonies on Oct. 17 from 12-1 p.m. at Elliott Tower.

“Normally, the events at the Tower tend to be a speech and a thank you to everybody [who worked] so many hours,” Campoy-Cubillo said. “The amount of time that we put in planning this event is unbelievable – so usually, that is what the event is expected to be, but there may be a couple surprises.” 

Reflecting on the importance of Hispanic Heritage Month, Campoy-Cubillo stated that celebrating different cultures is an important part of connecting with the world outside the US. 

“It’s important anytime we look for ways to get out of our normal routine and see how the people live here, overseas [or] whatever it is, so I think we should celebrate different ways of life,” he said. “As we know, the Hispanic community is very important to the United States, so I think any opportunity to familiarize yourself with any communities around the country and around the world is a good one.”

For more information on Hispanic Heritage Month, visit oakland.edu/cmi/hhm/ or Oakland University Center for Multicultural Initiatives on Facebook