KOKOMO, Ind. — Music, traditional foods, dancing, and more are on the menu as Indiana University Kokomo celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month with a traditional fiesta on Saturday, September 30.
The event will celebrate Latin American culture from 2 to 6 p.m. at the Pavilion, on the east side of campus by the Student Activities and Events Center. The fiesta is open to the public with free admission and parking.
“The fiesta is a good way to link our community with our campus, and to share our culture with everyone,” said J.R. Pico, teaching professor in Spanish and humanities. He added that it’s also a way to show appreciation for the campus’s growing Hispanic student population and let them know they are valued.
“It gives them a sense of belonging,” Pico said. “Hispanic enrollment is at a record high. Having this event is a good way of connecting them with IU, showing we care about their heritage, and that we are happy to have them on our campus.”
There’s something for all participants to enjoy, including mariachi music, dance lessons, a piñata, and more.
“It’s fun for everyone,” he said. “You don’t have to be Hispanic, because everyone is welcome.”
There will be food to sample and food trucks selling items including traditional Colombian arepas, Venezuelan empanadas and teques, and Mexican tacos. Pico said cash is preferred at the food trucks.
Events like the fiesta provide an opportunity to learn more about a culture, from its people.
“Learning from real people is a good way to avoid badly conceived stereotypes, implicit bias, and misunderstandings,” Pico said. “We care about our community, and we want our community to care about us.”
Hispanic Heritage Month is September 15 to October 15.