By GARRETT TAYLOR
The Adult Student Center raised awareness about cultural diversity by celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month as part of their Brown Bag Diversity Series.
The series will expose students to different religions, backgrounds and sexual orientations. It will also meet First-Year Seminar requirements for underclassmen who attend.
Each month, a different heritage is celebrated in order to promote diversity and acceptance among students.
This month’s focus was on Hispanic culture.
“One of the goals is to recognize and appreciate the differences between students, faculty and staff,” Kim Pelle, Adult Student Center coordinator, said.
Hispanic Heritage Week was first observed in 1968 under President Johnson and expanded to Hispanic Heritage Month in 1988 under President Reagan.
Students and faculty were encouraged to bring their lunch and learn about different cultures. Several attendees brought Hispanic food such as tacos, chips, salsa and rice.
The Children’s Center also got involved by promoting diversity at an early age.
“The sooner children recognize that being different is OK, the better they will understand and the chance of them growing into a productive adult in an increasingly global community heightens,” Timothy Metzler, former director of diversity studies at Cornell University, said.
Wanda Gregory, Children’s Center coordinator, said she decided to get the children involved with Hispanic Heritage Month.
“We’re also learning about Hispanic heritage at the Children’s Center, and it’s always nice to bring the children over to see the campus,” Gregory said.
Hispanic heritage was celebrated by learning about styles of sombreros, dresses and clothing such as quinceaneras, which is a Hispanic dress for a girl’s 15th birthday.
The children made maracas and piñatas to play with at the Adult Student Center.
They also learned about Mexico and Spain and researched famous Hispanic and Latino people, such as baseball player Roberto Clemente and singer Selena Quintanilla-Perez.
The children listened to music provided by Dora the Explorer. Dora Marquez, a young, cartoon Latina child, teaches beginning Spanish using short words and phrases.
While the children were being entertained by Dora, diversity issues were being discussed by those in attendance.
Hong Cheng, IUS reference librarian, said he participates because of his ethnic background.
“When I attended IU Bloomington, they had something similar to the Brown Bag Diversity Series, and I was a regular guest,” Cheng said. “Diversity is a very important issue and students interested in learning more are more than welcome to use the IUS Library to learn more.”
Although this was the first Brown Bag event of the school year, more are scheduled.
October will focus on the problem of abused women, while November is Native American Heritage Month.