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Latino and Hispanic Americans share their culture with UNG community

A local dance team will entertain and educate University of North Georgia students about the Latino and Hispanic culture Sept. 19, in the Robinson Ballroom on UNG's Gainesville Campus. The Expo Cultural will showcase different countries through boards, posters and even traditional apparel on Sept. 26 outside the Student Center. These are two of several events that are part of Hispanic Heritage Month, which runs from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15 on the Gainesville and Dahlonega campuses.

University of North Georgia students will hear and see sights and sounds from Latin America and Spain, taste traditional Latin American cuisine, and learn from two inspirational women during the Hispanic Heritage Month celebration at UNG.

National Hispanic Heritage Month, which runs from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15, is poised to educate the UNG community about Latino and Hispanic culture, said Libia Jiménez, coordinator for Multicultural Student Affairs (MSA) and Latino Success.

"A large majority of the Latino and Latina students are Mexican descendants, but LSA shares more than what Latin American and Hispanic is and not just Mexico," she said. "They can share the culture and achievements and advancements of Latino and Hispanic Americans who live in the United States. They can share their background with the UNG community."

All events embody one or more of three categories — competition, entertainment and education — that the Latino Student Association (LSA) developed when it began planning activities on UNG's Gainesville Campus.

Entertaining and educating students about the Latino and Hispanic culture through dance and trivia will be a local dance team. The performance will launch the month's activities by demonstrating various dances from Latin America. Sponsored by LSA, the event will be from noon to 1 p.m. Sept. 19 in the Robinson Ballroom on the Gainesville Campus.

One week later, the most popular event will be held. The Expo Cultural featuring boards or posters of six different countries will be presented outside of the Student Center from noon to 1 p.m. Sept. 26. Samples of a country's cuisine and beverages will be on hand.

"It's the most popular because it is interactive," Jiménez said, adding cash prizes will be awarded for the People's Choice, Judges Selection and one more unnamed category.

LSA Vice President Udis Calderon, a junior from Gainesville, Georgia, majoring in communications with a concentration in public relations, said the Expo showcases the differences and similarities of Latinos and Hispanics.

"It's really unique to see how different the countries are, but we come together as one culture," he said. "And the students are proud of where they come from."

Events will not only showcase Latino and Hispanic roots but will feature the impact of those groups on the United States. A documentary about Dolores Huerta will tell her story and show her contributions to the labor rights movement inspired by the work of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. She also co-founded United Farm Workers with Cesar Chavez.

Sponsored by the LSA and MSA, the documentary will be shown from noon to 2 p.m. Sept. 28 in the Robinson Ballroom in Gainesville.

Huerta will not be the only Latina featured. Alba Castillo Baylin, vice president of customer marketing for the Coca-Cola Co., is the keynote speaker from noon to 1 p.m. Oct. 3 in the Robinson Ballroom.

"She was born in Colombia and has a true success story," Jiménez said. "She will inspire the students."

Students on the Gainesville Campus will not be the only ones being inspired. The Latin American Student Organization (LASO) and MSA is sponsoring events on the Dahlonega Campus. LASO will feature Latinos such as professors, famous figures, or UNG students on its Instagram and Facebook pages during the month, said Octavio Aguado, vice president of LASO and a junior from Auburn, Georgia, majoring in biology.

LASO and MSA, along with the Department of Spanish and the Gender Studies Council, will co-sponsor a "What is Machismo?" panel at 6 p.m. Oct. 4in the Hoag ABC rooms. A Hispanic Cultural Expo will be from 5-7 p.m. Oct. 10 in Hoag ABC rooms.

A few other events on Dahlonega's Campus include the Frida Kahlo wall hangings exhibit Sept. 24-28 in the library, the Dolores Huerta documentary at 7 p.m. Oct. 2 in Hoag Auditorium, a Dia de lost Muertos event Oct. 31 and Latin Fever Dance on Nov. 8, said Tara Overzat, assistant director of MSA.

Hispanic Heritage Month activities

Gainesville Campus

  • Noon to 1 p.m. Sept. 19, Latino Dance Performance in Robinson Ballroom
  • Noon to 1 p.m. Sept. 26, Expo Cultural outside the Student Center
  • Noon to 2 p.m. Sept. 28, Dolores Huerta documentary screening in the Robinson Ballroom
  • Noon to 1 p.m. Oct. 3, keynote speaker Alba Castillo Baylin of the Coca-Cola Co. in the Robinson Ballroom

Dahlonega Campus

  • Sept. 24-28 Frida Kahlo wall hangings Exhibit in the Library Technology Center
  • 7 p.m. Oct. 2, Dolores Huerta documentary screening and discussion in Hoag Auditorium
  • 6 p.m. Oct. 4, "What is Machismo?" Hispanic Heritage Month panel in Hoag ABC rooms
  • 5-7 p.m. Oct. 10 Cultural Expo in Hoag ABC Rooms
  • 8 a.m. to noon Oct. 31 Dia de los Muertos event in Memorial Hall Gym
  • 6-8 p.m. Nov. 8 Latin Fever Dance in Convocation Center

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