Students showcase their art on West Campus Green on Sept. 15. The artwork was made for Health Promotion & Wellness’ Latin American Art Night. (Alexis Alexander / Golden Gate Xpress) (Alexis Alexander)
Students showcase their art on West Campus Green on Sept. 15. The artwork was made for Health Promotion & Wellness’ Latin American Art Night. (Alexis Alexander / Golden Gate Xpress)

Alexis Alexander

Health Promotion & Wellness kicks off Hispanic Heritage Month with Latin American Art Night

Students and staff share what Hispanic culture means to them while celebrating the start of Hispanic Heritage Month.

September 19, 2022

Students celebrated the beginning of Hispanic Heritage Month at West Campus Green for Health Promotion & Wellness’ Latin American Art Night Thursday. 

First commemorated in 1988, Hispanic Heritage Month celebrates the history, culture and contributions of Hispanic Americans. The celebration begins mid-month because it is the anniversary of five Central American countries’ independence: Costa Rica, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala.

Alumna and interim assistant director for HPW’s Basic Needs Initiatives Liz Gandara, comes from a mixed-status Mexican family. 

“I really love integrating my culture into the SF State community because nearly 30% of our student population is Latinx and so I wanna make sure that they feel included,” Gandara said. “Even from the snacks that we offer to the sort of the experiences that they’re able to see, a little bit of their culture integrated into the programming.” 

Food and snacks such as Gansitos and Turbos Flamas were served as students listened to Hispanic music and painted canvases on the lawn. 

First year student and first generation Mexican American Celeste Martinez, was one of the many students celebrating  at the event. 

“For me personally, it [Hispanic Heritage Month] means to celebrate my heritage and culture in the U.S. because it’s not as accepted,” Martinez said. “It’s a way for a lot of us Latinos to kind of gather together and unite.” 

SF State is currently home to 36.75% Hispanic or Latino students. Despite Latinx students making up such a large amount of the student population, retention and graduation rates have dropped annually. 

Jamillah Moore, Vice President for Student Affairs & Enrollment Management, shared that the university is committed to closing these equity gaps. 

“We continue to work thoughtfully and consciously in our efforts to ensure each member of the campus community feels a sense of inclusion, mattering, and belonging,” Moore said in a campus wide email. 

Earlier this year SF State welcomed a new Latinx Student Center. The center aims to make students feel comfortable and welcomed whenever they need a helping hand. 

Inaugural director of the Latinx Student Center Emmanuel Padilla, sees Hispanic Heritage Month as a time to highlight Hispanic culture as a whole.

“Just having a month to further have the spotlight for students and the staff and the community at State to feel noticed, embraced and also affirmed,” Padilla said. 

The Latinx Student Center, located in the Student Services Breezeway Room 140, will host an event every Wednesday for the remainder of Hispanic Heritage Month. 

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About the Contributors
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Alexis Alexander, Diversity Editor
Alexis Alexander (she/her) is the Diversity Editor for Golden Gate Xpress. She is a senior at SF State, majoring in journalism with a minor in race and resistance studies. She lives in San Francisco but grew up in Monrovia, California. Alexis enjoys writing about social and cultural issues. When she has a moment to herself she enjoys live music, matcha with oat milk and long walks in the city. After graduation she hopes to write or edit for a cultural news source or magazine like Rolling Stone.

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