Serving the Southern Illinois University community since 1916.

The Daily Egyptian

Serving the Southern Illinois University community since 1916.

The Daily Egyptian

Serving the Southern Illinois University community since 1916.

The Daily Egyptian

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Hispanic/Latinx Heritage Month: How culture inspires one’s true calling.

Libby Phelps
SIU student Janice Vega does a partner dance at the Latin Rhythms Workshop hosted by the Latin American Student Association (LASA) Sept. 22, 2023 at the Student Center Ballrooms in Carbondale, Illinois.

SIU will be celebrating Hispanic and Latino/a heritage through events hosted by student organizations, various departments and the entire SIU community to acknowledge the accomplishments, history and contributions of Hispanic and Latin Americans.

Events introducing music, arts and educational information regarding Hispanic and Latino/a culture will be occurring throughout the month.

Hispanic/Latinx Heritage Month began on Sept. 15 and continues through Oct. 15, and was first observed in 1988. The dates coincide with independence days in several Latin American countries, for Americans to celebrate the history and culture of these countries. On campus, students can use this time to reflect on the importance of Hispanic and Latino/a artistry and achievements.


Many students who attend SIU have used their past experiences with their culture and family to motivate them and to direct their future plans.

Aimee Moore chose mortuary science and funeral services as a major because of her Mexican heritage.

“My culture ties into my personal goals a lot,” Moore said. “Being Hispanic, death is very prominent and important in my culture. Putting up the ofrenda (altar) for Dia De Los Muertos has always been one of my favorite things about being Mexican, and I believe my culture displays death and mourning so beautifully.”

Moore said her personal sensibilities also played a part.

“I have always been interested in death, and I believe that it would make me happy to work with death so closely,” she said. “I also really enjoy being able to make others feel comforted, and like they’re not alone. I would love to be able to help families through the grieving process and make them feel cared for.”

She hopes to include aspects of her heritage in her future profession and gain connections with people with similar experiences and culture.

“My goals for being a mortician and a funeral director are to be able to include all different types of cultural funerals and to make sure no one feels left out,” Moore said. “Everyone should feel loved and welcomed when they attend a funeral, and I believe we as funeral directors have a job to make everyone feel included despite cultural differences. I also hope to be a safe space for Latinos, as a Latina funeral director myself, and I hope to be able to give back to my community that way.”


In her time at school so far, Moore has noticed the presence of events hosted by the school to represent and share Hispanic and Latino/a culture with the student body.

“I think SIU does a wonderful job representing and uplifting Hispanics/Latinos at this school,” Moore said. “There are so many RSOs like Hispanic Student Council and Latino Cultural Association that put together so many fun and educational activities for everyone to enjoy, especially during Hispanic Heritage month. There’s Ballet Folklorico Mexicano, Loteria nights” (Spanish Bingo), “mock quinceaneras and so much more. SIU is amazing at making me and other Hispanics/Latinos feel welcomed. There’s nothing I would change about it.”

So far, SIU has hosted several events to celebrate Hispanic and Latino/a culture, such as a free Latin Rhythms workshop, where people of all levels and backgrounds could learn basic steps of traditional Latin dances. A Loteria Night was also hosted, where people could learn about a type of bingo used in Latino/a culture and the significance of Loteria.

The Fiesta de Cultura will be taking place on Oct. 13 at the Student Services Building Pavillion from 7-10 p.m. Entertainment will be provided by the acclaimed Latin band Los De La Lou from St. Louis, Missouri. They will be highlighting cumbia and zapateado genres. The band members can express themselves and their Latin roots, getting the opportunity to do something they genuinely enjoy, while simultaneously inspiring SIU students.

Daniel Muñoz is a member of the group, and the connection between the members of the group impels them to share their performances with many different communities.

“Basically, without the band we’re nothing. The band is like our motivations,” Muñoz said.

He said students can “maybe get into the music and learn to play an instrument.”

“With the music that we play, and seeing people like us who are playing, they look forward to seeing these artists.” Muñoz said

Other future events include a LASA (Latin American Student Association) Meet & Greet: a panel discussion about Latinada, Latin Night with LASA and Latino Cultural Association’s Dia de las Razas event.

To celebrate Hispanic/Latinx Heritage Month with these events and more, visit the Student Multicultural Resource Center to find the schedule and resources to support Hispanic members of the community.


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