Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month across Tech

Many students participated in the Mini World Cup event hosted by the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE) during their annual recognition of Hispanic Heritage Month. // Photo courtesy of SHPE

From Sept. 15 to Oct. 15, Tech is celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month (HHM) across campus, hosting various events to uplift and engage the Hispanic and Latinx community at the Institute. 

Coinciding with the national HHM, many organizations and departments at Tech join to “celebrate and recognize the economic, scientific, cultural and social contributions of Hispanics and Latinos in the United States,” according to the Tech HHM website. Over the past decade the number of Hispanic or Latinx students has more than doubled at Tech, and this trend is expected to continue. 

The Office of Hispanic Initiatives (OHI) at Tech is responsible for recruitment, retention and outreach for Hispanic and Latinx students, and is a major driver of HHM events. The month is important to the office as it celebrates its students’ cultures and shares them with the rest of campus.

“One of the goals of celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month on campus is not only for Hispanics and Latinos to celebrate our own cultures and achievements, but also to include all the people from other cultures or other ethnicities to celebrate with us,” said Jorge Breton, director of OHI. 

The theme for this year’s HHM is “Unidos: Inclusivity for a Stronger Nation,” and OHI is helping to unite organizations and offices from around campus to host HHM events. Breton also said anyone on campus can plan their own programs to celebrate HHM.

From highlighting Hispanic or Latinx faculty to a laidback trivia night, HHM events are accessible for all members of the Tech community to recognize and learn about Hispanic and Latinx achievements. The Society of Hispanic Engineers (SHPE) at Tech hosts one of the most exciting events of the month: the Mini World Cup.

Starting in the afternoon of Sep. 23, 16 teams faced off in friendly soccer matches as the different teams competing in the World Cup this year. While many members from SHPE participated, anyone on campus could join in on the fun.

“Everyone just really enjoys playing soccer and it’s a stress-free event,” said Paola Montemayor, fourth-year ME and SHPE secretary. “It’s a great way to just go back to your childhood sport, and it’s just really fun because you choose a team with your friends and then you just go for a friendly competition one time a year.”

With support from OHI, around 140 people were able to participate in the event. 

Team Costa Rica won the tournament with Mexico as the runner-up, and both teams received a trophy and medals for their achievements. Montemayor also noted the importance of soccer in Latin American culture and was proud of her organization’s work to put on this annual event for HHM. 

SHPE is also contributing to more events in HHM and plans initiatives throughout the year to support Hispanic and Latinx students at Tech. As one of the largest chapters in the nation, SHPE seeks to honor all of its members and their respective cultures throughout the month.

“The importance of celebrating the Hispanic Heritage Month at Tech is to recognize and celebrate the personalities, work, stories and efforts of Hispanic students on campus,” said Aimée Marie Ogando Melo, third-year CE and external vice president of SHPE. “Celebrating this month on campus provides a unique opportunity to all students on campus to appreciate Hispanic students and to engage in their events and culture through multiple ways.”

In addition to SHPE, there are many other groups on campus that support Hispanic or Latinx students, faculty and staff. 

The Hispanic or Latinos and Allies are an employee resource group at Tech that is spotlighting Hispanic and Latinx employees throughout HHM. The Latino Organization of Graduate Students and the Tech Hispanic Alumni Network are two more organizations that hosted the Hispanic/Latinx Trivia Night on Oct. 6.

While HHM is nearing its end for the year, there are still more events at Tech for interested students.

On Oct. 10 there will be a HHM lecture on “Inspiring Radical Creativity: Empowering Diverse Voices to Tell Their Own Stories” in the John Lewis Student Center, and is part of the Institute Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Intercultural Lecture Series. 

Breton said this was an annual highlight of HHM, and this year’s lecture will feature Gabby Rivera, an accomplished Puerto Rican author who is also the first Latina to write for Marvel Comics. Rivera wrote the series “America” about America Chavez, a Latin-American superhero within the Marvel Universe.

Following on Oct. 12, the last two events of HHM will be the Hispanic Alumni Networking event and the HHM Closing Banquet. 

More information and registration links for the remaining events for HHP can be found on hispanicoffice.gatech.edu/events/hispanic-heritage-month