The Rutgers University in Camden community gathered on the Campus Quad last Friday, October 13, to close out National Hispanic Heritage Month with music, fanfare, food, and festivities.
“Rutgers–Camden has always been committed to fostering an inclusive environment that welcomes diversity,” said Chancellor Antonio D. Tillis. “This festive celebration, and all of the many events we have had on campus, honor the rich history, culture, and contributions of Hispanic and Latino communities at Rutgers–Camden—and nationwide.”
The crowd was treated to live music from Daniel Spearman and the Latin Crew, which inspired some guests to dance, while others enjoyed complementary Latin cuisine prepared by local vendors and chefs.
Going back as far back as the late 1960s when it was a week-long celebration, Hispanic Heritage Month was officially established in 1989. Its observance coincides with Independence Day celebrations in Mexico and many Latin American nations, including Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Chile, and Belize.
To honor this year’s theme of “Latinos: Driving Prosperity, Power and Progress in America,” Rutgers–Camden celebrated the contributions made by Hispanic and Latin Americans. Events included Latin dance lessons at the Campus Center and a public panel featured local Latinas in government who discussed the positive impact of larger numbers of Hispanic and Latin people being elected to serve in public office, while highlighting the importance of being civically engaged. The university also published a series of stories on its website, bringing attention to notable research and achievements of Hispanic and Latino faculty.
Hispanic and Latino students make up nearly 19 percent of the undergraduate student body at Rutgers–Camden, and in 2022, the university was named a Minority Serving Institution by the U.S. Department of Education under Titles III and V of the Higher Education Act. Grants received under Title V assist in expanding educational opportunities for Hispanic students, faculty development, enhanced educational offerings, and improved instructional facilities.
While observance of Hispanic Heritage Month is wrapping up, ongoing appreciation for the contributions of the Hispanic and Latino community of Rutgers–Camden—and support for their educational and professional dreams—continues.
Photography: Ronald Downes
Creative Design: Beatris Santos