Abigail Helm

(Rock Hill, S.C.) – Winthrop University’s campus programming board, the DiGiorgio Student Union (DSU), celebrated Hispanic Heritage Month — Sept. 15 to Oct. 15 — by hosting two back-to-back events highlighting Hispanic culture.

Hispanic students make up about 5% of the student body at Winthrop, but in recent years, some students have said they’ve felt underrepresented on campus.

“Looking around on campus, you wouldn’t see much of Hispanic heritage promotion…or things that recognize students who are Hispanic on campus,” said Willie Bush, Winthrop’s assistant for campus programming.

Bush, who is often active with students on campus, said he encourages DSU to advocate and represent student communities who may feel underserved.

“I think that DSU’s role on campus is to be a reflection of not only what students want but who they are. Part of that means recognizing student’s backgrounds…and things that may be important to them in their lives.”

To kick off Hispanic Heritage Month, DSU screened the film “In the Heights,” a musical that highlights Caribbean Hispanic culture. Prior to the screening, a panel discussion featuring Hispanic students took place to give students a more diverse view on what it means to be Hispanic.

Arden Zayas, a featured panelist, was glad to see a range of cultural backgrounds represented on the panel.

“I felt nervous, but also excited because I wanted to show different perspectives of how Hispanic people grew up, because it’s not all traditional or stereotypical,” Zayas said.

The final event was Sazón, held Oct. 13, which featured a celebration of various Hispanidad customs.

“The event showcased different dishes from different Hispanic countries, as well as Flamenco dancing, which is a dance that originated in Spain,” said Anthony Lisbon, DSU’s lectures and diversity chair.

The event featured entertainment from internationally renowned flamenco dancer Ania Bartelmus and food options including lumpias, pupusas, churros and elotes. It ended with an informative game of Hispanic culture trivia.

“The goal of Sazón is to educate the student body and public on Hispanic culture, and things that they may not know that aren’t traditionally represented in the media,” Lisbon said.

While Hispanic Heritage Month has come to an end, students can still expect to see more inclusive and diverse events coming to campus that support marginalized communities.

“We see you. We’re going to support you. We’re going to put on events that cater to your heritage and what you represent,” Bush said.