Students, cultures unite

Joe Ruh

The Latino Student Union “y Amigos” is hosting the fourth annual heritage month from Sept. 16 to Oct. 15. Activities will serve to broaden knowledge of Latino culture and traditions.

Founded June 11, 2001, the organization brings together students who are interested in Latino culture.

“The group promotes the culture and is building gaps between Latinos and non-Latinos,” Leo Calderon, advisor for LSU, said.

This year, the heritage month began differently. Supporters of LSU gathered in the University Center Ballroom on Friday. NKU honored Procter and Gamble for donating $150,000 towards the construction of the Latino and Multicultural Center for Regional Development, Calderon said.

“Every year we hope for more,” Calderon said. Next year, the group will be hosting its celebration in a new facility.

The LSU focuses on involving students in cultural activities.

“NKU does a great job organizing and creating events, students need to tap into that,” said Marilyn Zayas-Davis, Immigrant attorney and member of the Hispanic/Latino Affairs Committee.

She said that students need to pick activities that interest them and attend. These events prepare college students for the real world where they need to be aware of other cultures.

The NKU Spanish Club, Amigos, has merged with LSU to become one organization.

“Both groups were doing the same thing,” Irene Encarnacion, advisor for the Amigos, said. They both had the same interests and objectives, so it made sense to combine them.

Uniting the two groups creates more interaction between Latino and non-Latino students, Encarnacion said.

More than 10 main events are scheduled. A discussion about Latino cultural barriers in the education system will be in the UC Sept. 16.

“The Keynote lecture is a once in a lifetime opportunity,” Encarnacion said. “If students could only attend one event, that would be the one.”

Dining services have also contributed to the heritage month by planning a Latino menu Sept. 17 and Oct. 14, Calderon said.

Aside from lectures, there will be Latino film festivals and a Carnival Dance.

“These events will have a positive effect on students,” Kathy Stewart, special events director at NKU said, “It will make students more aware of a culture other than their own. Knowledge creates comfort.”

The kick-off reception will be held in the UC lobby Sept. 16. All events are free, with the exception of a small fee for the carnival dance.