By Brianna Gleghorn
Youngstown State University began their celebrations of Hispanic Heritage Month on Sept. 15 to come together and experience the Hispanic culture and hear from various speakers.
According to the National Hispanic Heritage Month website, this month is a “national celebration of the histories, cultures and contributions of American citizens whose ancestors came from countries such as Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central and South America.”
Rebecca Banks, a graduate student, has been interested in learning about the Hispanic culture because of her heritage.
“It’s important to show YSU, the community and the city of Youngstown the Hispanic culture,” said Banks. “They are hardworking and there is such love and unity.”
The first observations of Hispanic Heritage Month started with President Lyndon Johnson and were later expanded by President Ronald Reagan in 1988. The celebration covers a 30-day period from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15.
The celebrations started with an opening ceremony on Sept. 13 at the Mahoning County Courthouse. The ceremony included a procession of flags representing 22 Hispanic speaking countries with a musical performance.
Youngstown State University has activities until Nov. 17 for students to learn about Hispanic heritage and culture.
On Sept. 18, the Department of Foreign Languages and Literature and the International Programs Office hosted a lecture titled, “Importance of Spanish Language Acquisition” in the Lariccia Family Intercultural Collaboratory in Jones Hall.
Gina Villamizar, assistant professor of Spanish, explained the importance of being able to speak Spanish and how learning it can “expand your universe.”
Ann Gardner, assistant director of international programs, discussed the study abroad program at YSU.
“I have seniors who always say the one thing they regret doing is not studying abroad,” Gardner said.
During the acquisition, four students spoke about each of their experiences in Spanish-speaking countries such as Columbia, Spain, Chile, Costa Rica and El Salvador.
Diana Palardy, associate professor in the foreign language department, was also there to explain why students should study Spanish.
Internationally recognized artist, Gaby Berglund Cardenas, had an opening exhibit and reception for her artwork on Sept. 20 in Bliss Hall, which included a series of woodcuts, installations and books.
Art lovers were able to meet the artist and able to flip through the books, but only with gloves that were provided.
“This series is about exploring and embracing uncertainty,” Cardenas said.
The exhibit runs through Oct. 5.
On Oct. 6, there will be a Hispanic heritage month celebration that will be free to the public and include entertainment, dancing and refreshments.
More events to celebrate Hispanic heritage month can be found at https://ysu.edu/news/hispanic-heritage-month-events.