Penn State campus events celebrate, honor National Hispanic Heritage Month

Celebrated Sept. 15–Oct. 15, events at the University's campuses began mid-September and continue all through October
Carlos Andres Gomez

Penn State Altoona will host workshops and a spoken word performance by award-winning author, speaker, and equity and inclusion strategist Carlos Andrés Gómez on Tuesday, Oct. 18, 2022.

Credit: Provided - Carlos Andrés Gómez

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — From mid-September through the end of October, Penn State units at campuses across the commonwealth will be holding events in honor of National Hispanic Heritage Month, celebrated Sept. 15–Oct. 15.

The unifying theme for this year’s observances is “Nuestra Música (Our Music): Identity, Culture and Resistance," chosen by the University Park Hispanic Heritage Month organizing committee.

In September 1968, the U.S. Congress authorized then President Lyndon B. Johnson to proclaim National Hispanic Heritage Week, expanded in 1989 to a month-long celebration of the culture and traditions of those who trace their roots to Mexico, the Caribbean, Central America and South America. Sept. 15 was chosen as the starting point for the celebration because it is the anniversary of independence of five Latin American countries: Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. In addition, Mexico and Chile celebrate their independence days on Sept. 16 and Sept. 18, respectively.

More information about events organized by the Hispanic Heritage Committee, and a list of Latino student organizations at University Park, is available on its website. These events, and additional ones taking place at the University’s campuses across the state, are listed below. This list will be updated throughout the month.

Penn State University Park

Screening of Historical Documentary: "Dolores: Rebel. Activist. Feminist. Mother." — Monday, Sept. 19, 6 p.m., Freeman Auditorium, HUB-Robeson Center. Join the Penn State Student Farm and the Hispanic Heritage Month Dolores Huerta Day of Service’s screening of a riveting documentary about civil rights activist Dolores Huerta, one of our nation’s most important Latinx labor and community organizers.

Las Cafeteras Virtual Event — Tuesday, Sept. 20, 6-7:30 p.m., via Zoom. Presented by the Penn State Hispanic Heritage Month Committee Center in partnership with the Center for the Performing Arts. With "The Sounds of Resistance: From Storytelling to Movement Building," members of Los Angeles-based Chicano and folk band Las Cafeteras will discuss how they are storytellers before they are musicians. Participants will be given tools and poetry prompts to begin to create their own narrative. Register for the Zoom event here.

2022 Hispanic Heritage Month Keynote Event: Betto Arcos: "Music Stories from the Cosmic Barrio: The African Roots of Latin Music" — Thursday, Sept. 22, 6–7:30 p.m., Foster Auditorium, Pattee-Paterno Library. A music journalist and contributor to NPR since 2009, Betto Arcos is the author of the book "Music Stories from the Cosmic Barrio," a collection of stories about music from Latin America, Africa, the Middle East, and Europe. Join us for a discussion on the influence of African roots on music from Latin America.

Dolores Huerta Day of Service I: The Dr. Keiko Miwa Ross Student Farm at Penn State — Sunday, Sept. 25, 11 a.m.–12:45 p.m., Big Hollow Road, University Park. Assist in harvesting crops to help provide fresh food to the Community Café at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church.  CATA bus tokens/passes for the HM/HU bus loop will be provided to all registered participants. To volunteer and register (by Sept. 14), email Sebastian López ([email protected]) and Samantha Escobar ([email protected]).

Hispanic Heritage Month Children’s Day — Sunday, Sept. 25, 2–4 p.m., Schlow Rentre Region Library, 211 S. Allen Street. Join the Penn State Latinx student leaders in an afternoon of fun, arts and crafts.

Rock out with REYNA — Wednesday, Sept. 28, 6-7 p.m., HUB Lounge 008. 6–7 p.m. The Center for Sexual and Gender Diversity celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month and welcomes REYNA the Band to Penn State! REYNA will showcase their acoustic talents while answering questions about their experience as a Latine Sister Duo in the indie-pop industry. Milwaukee sisters Vic Banuelos and Gabby Banuelos' band REYNA is named as a play on the Spanish word for "queen" and representative of a new era under a regal name that they said “represented their culture, where they come from and, of course, powerful women.” 

Dolores Huerta Day of Service II: The Community Café at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church — Thursday, Sept. 29,
5–8 p.m., St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church, 208 W. Foster Avenue
. Assist in serving during, and cleaning after the Community Café’s meal service to community members. To volunteer and register (by Sept. 14), email Sebastian López ([email protected]) and Samantha Escobar ([email protected]).

Malpaso Dance Company performance — Thursday, Sept. 29, 7:30 p.m., Eisenhower Auditorium. The Cuban dance ensemble, an associate company of Joyce Theater Productions, will perform works by choreographers Daile Carrazanna, Mats Ek, Aszure Barton and Robyn Mineko Williams. Read more here.

    Happy Valley Latino Festival — Saturday, Oct. 8, 11 a.m.–5 p.m., Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Plaza, Fraser St., State College. Celebrate Hispanic/Latinx heritage with live music, arts and crafts vendors, food vendors, and much more!! This event is hosted by the Borough of State College, Downtown State College, and Happy Valley Latino Festival.

    Poetry with Chibbi — Monday Oct. 10, 6 p.m., HUB Lounge 008. The Center for Sexual and Gender Diversity celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month and welcomes Mexican-born, Texas-raised poet, actor, and host, Chibbi Orduña. Chibbi will perform some of his spoken word poetry created within the last few years during attacks on LGBTQ+ rights during LGBTQ+ history month. He is the founder of Laredo BorderSlam, and a founding member of the Houston poetry spot, Write About Now. His work primarily deals with the exploration of identity and culture, his experiences as both Queer and Latino, and fighting for the validity of existence.

    "Identities are Changeable" discussion by Miguel Zenón — Tuesday, Oct. 11, 5:30 p.m., School of Music Building II, Room 128. The Center for the Performing Arts, in collaboration with the Penn State Hispanic Heritage Month Committee, will host a discussion by the jazz saxophonist. Zenón will discuss his recent project, "Identities are Changeable," which was inspired by the idea of national identity. He will play and discuss audio and video from his community project. The event is free, but registration is required.

    Miguel Zenón Quartet "Música de las Américas" — Tuesday, Oct. 11, 7:30 p.m., School of Music Recital Hall. The Center for the Performing Arts, in collaboration with the Penn State Hispanic Heritage Month Committee, will present the Grammy Award-nominee Puerto Rican jazz musician and his quartet. A master at balancing and blending innovation and tradition, Zenón is one of the most trailblazing and influential saxophonists and composers of his generation. Born and raised in San Juan, Puerto Rico, Zenón has been nominated for multiple Grammy Awards and is the recipient of Guggenheim and MacArthur fellowships. Information and tickets available here.

    Themed Dinner at Penn State Dining: Celebrating Hispanic Heritage — Wednesday, Oct. 12, 5–8 p.m., all University Park Dining Commons’ "All You Care to Eat" locations. Cost: $8 for non-Campus meal plan holders (please note all locations are cashless). Presented by Penn State Residential Dining.

    Hispanic Heritage Month Cultural Night: Los Bomberos de la Calle: "Bomba y Plena: A Story of Identity and Resistance"Friday, Oct. 14, 6–9 p.m., Heritage Hall, HUB-Robeson Center. Doors open at 5:30 p.m.; dinner at 6:30 p.m. Business casual/dinner attire required. This event is best suited for ages 10+. Tickets are free, but are required for everyone occupying a seat for dinner; Request a ticket here, starting on Oct. 1.

    Join us for a night of music, dinner, and an interactive presentation by Puerto Rican music and dance group Los Bomberos de la Calle. Los Bomberos will discuss the history of the musical genre of Bomba and Plena and its function as political and spiritual expression, based on the African heritage of Puerto Rico. Be ready to dance, as this is an interactive presentation!

    Penn State Abington

    Afro-Latinx EventMonday, Sept. 19, 11 a.m.–noon. Penn State Abington will be holding an Afro-Latinx Event, sponsored by the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, for students, faculty and staff at Penn State Abington, who can log in to their accounts for more information and to register at

    Penn State Altoona

    "In The Heights" movie screening – Sept. 20, 6 p.m., Slep Pond View. Enjoy a showing of the movie with an accompanying coffee bar and have fun with a paint by number activity.  

    Colombian American poet, speaker, actor, and equity and inclusion strategist Carlos Andrés Gómez will present an interactive session, a workshop, and a spoken-word performance at Penn State Altoona, on Tuesday, Oct. 18.

    From New York City, Gómez is the author of “Fractures,” winner of the Felix Pollak Prize in Poetry; “Hijito,” bestseller and winner of the Broken River Prize; and the memoir “Man Up: Reimagining Modern Manhood.” A star of HBO’s “Def Poetry Jam,” TV One’s “Verses and Flow,” and Spike Lee’s “Inside Man,” his honors include the Sandy Crimmins National Prize for Poetry, Atlanta Review International Poetry Prize, Foreword INDIES Gold Medal, and the International Book Award. He partnered with John Legend on “Senior Orientation,” a program to counteract bullying and champion inclusive masculinity among high school students. 

    • "Our Intersecting Selves: Diversity, Identity, Equity, & Inclusion workshop" — Oct. 18, noon–1:30 p.m., Slep Fireside. This interactive session will explore how our intersecting social identities impact our access in the world.
    • "The Power of Latinidad in a Fractured World" workshopOct. 18, 2:30–4 p.m, Slep Fireside. In this interactive workshop, Gómez will illuminate how embracing and understanding his Latine heritage has taught him life-changing lessons about intersectionality, equity, and what it means to truly celebrate human authenticity. Attendees will receive a free copy of Gómez's book, "Fractures."
    • Spoken word performance by Carlos Andrés GómezOct. 18, 6–7 p.m., Slep Fireside.

    Penn State Berks

    Penn State Berks will celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month with a variety of events. For additional information on these events, contact Donna Chambers, assistant teaching professor of Spanish, at 610-396-6332 or via email at [email protected].

    Charlas con Chocolates — 2:30 p.m. Wednesdays, Sept. 14 through Nov. 16, Franco Building, room 102. Penn State Berks students, faculty and staff are invited to this weekly gathering to enjoy cultural conversations and word games in Spanish while sampling chocolates of the Americas. 

    Hispanic Heritage Month Opening Celebration, Keynote Address by JW Cortés — 7 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 15, Perkins Student Center Auditorium.  Cortés, an actor who portrays Detective Alvarez on the hit TV show "Gotham," travels through the country, delivering high-impact presentations in which he describes his personal journey, starting on the stoops of Brooklyn, passing through the deserts of the Middle East, and landing on movie screens worldwide. In addition to being an actor, Cortés is a veteran combat marine, speaker, businessman, and law enforcement professional. This  event is open to the general public and tickets are free but participants must register in advance.

    Latin Fest — 5 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 19, 5 p.m., Perkins Student Center Multipurpose Room. An annual event celebrating Latin heritage, Latin Fest is free and open to students, faculty, staff and the general public. With the theme of “One Language; Many Cultures,” the event will include live performances and other presentations, followed by a taste of Latin cuisine. This event is sponsored by the Penn State Berks Diversity Committee. For more information, contact Sharon Pitterson-Ogaldez at [email protected] or 610-396-6080. 

    Latino Forum — Friday, Oct. 14, 9:30–11:30 a.m., Perkins Student Center Auditorium (live stream available).

    The 10th annual Penn State Berks Latino Forum is a free event for students from all Berks County high schools, as well as members of the local Latinx community. This year’s event will feature keynote speaker Javier Ávila, who will present a one-man show titled "The Perfect Latino." Ávila offers a close examination of the American-Latinx experience, taking the audience on a journey as he moves between cultures, navigating a world of misunderstandings and misconceptions. Ávila provides a fascinating perspective on what it means to balance assimilation with cultural preservation. The keynote will be followed by tours of the campus.

    Registration is required for both the in-person and virtual event. A Zoom link will be emailed to those attend virtually.

    Day of the Dead Celebration — Monday, Nov. 2, 6 p.m., Perkins Student Center Multipurpose Room. This free event is open to Penn State Berks students, faculty and staff, as well as the general public. Penn State Berks will celebrate the rich Mexican traditions of Day of the Dead with an illustrated talk and refreshments traditionally served during this holiday.

    Spanish Program Social — Wednesday, Oct. 26, 12:15 p.m., Franco Building, room 102. Students enrolled in the Penn State Berks Spanish minor and/or the Certificate in Spanish for Healthcare are invited to this event to learn more about the program and Sigma Delta Pi, the National Collegiate Hispanic Honor Society.

    Bilingual Story Telling — Penn State Berks faculty and students will present virtual bilingual readings of traditional stories for local elementary schools. This is not a public event. For information, contact Donna Chambers, assistant teaching professor of Spanish, at [email protected].

    Penn State Brandywine

    Satur-Stay movie: "Selena"Saturday, Sept. 17, 5 p.m. and 8 p.m., Student Union Parsons Hall. Popcorn and soda available. Sponsored by Student Engagement.

    Latinx FestTuesday, Sept. 20, noon-2 p.m., Student Union Parsons Hall. Food, crafts, salsa lessons and more. Sponsored by Student Engagement.

    Javier Ávila, one-man show: "The Trouble with My Name"Thursday, Sept. 29, noon-1:30 p.m., Student Union 114-117. Sponsored by Student Engagement.

    National Hispanic Heritage Month trivia game showThursday, Oct. 6, 6-7 p.m., Student Union Parsons Hall. Sponsored by Student Engagement.

    Satur-Stay movie: "Encanto" Saturday, Oct. 8, 5 p.m. and 8 p.m., Student Union Parsons Hall. Popcorn and soda available. Sponsored by Student Engagement.

    Penn State DuBois

    Cultural Luncheon: Latinx Families in the U.S.Oct. 25, Common Hour. Students will host a Cultural Luncheon focused on Latinx Families in the U.S. While participants enjoy culturally relevant food, students will give a presentation on what they are learning about Latinx families from a human development and family studies perspective.

    Lotería EventNov. 10, Common Hour. In November, Penn State DuBois students will host lotería, a bingo-style game popular in Mexico. After a brief introduction to the history of the game, students will lead participants through playing the game, and also share trifolds or posters with information on Latinx cultures.

    Penn State Fayette

    Andes MantaWednesday, Sept. 28, 12:15 p.m., Williams Building, Student Center. Enjoy the vibrant music of the Andes on more than 35 traditional instruments. Founder Fernando Lopez believes that music brings a rare opportunity for cultural understanding between the people of their homeland, South America, and the people of modern North America. Free, and open to Penn State Fayette students and employees.

    Penn State Hazleton

    Events at the Mary M. and Bertil E. Lofstrom Library — throughout the month, include:

    • Week of Sept. 12: Hispanic culture-related book and film/DVD collection display 
    • Week of Sept. 26, noon to 2 p.m.: Make a piñata (recurring daily or longer until students can complete) 
    • Oct. 5, noon to 2 p.m.: Make an Ojo de Dios (God’s eye)
    • Oct. 10, noon to 2 p.m.: Make a Papel Picado (decorative craft made with paper)


    Latinx Music Appreciation Day at Rock the BlockWednesday, Sept. 28, Campus Mall. Stop by the campus mall during Rock the Block for Latinx music, games, and more.

    Film screening: "West Side Story" Friday, Oct. 7 at 5 and 8 p.m., Kostos Room 001.

    Trip to the Hispanic Society Museum and Library in New York City Saturday, Oct. 8. Transportation departs West Hall at 9 a.m.

    Chalk the Block event: "Identities/Identidades" — Wednesday, Sept. 14, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., campus mall between the Graham and Butler buildings. At this Chalk the Block event, students will have the opportunity to draw images associated with their identities. This multicultural event is open to all to share and to acknowledge our various heritages. Sponsored by the Penn State Hazleton Latinx Culture Club.

    Penn State Mont Alto

    Hispanic Heritage at The Mill — The Mill will offer culturally themed food options for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

    Pinata Making and Playing Loteria — Tuesday, Sept. 20, noon to 1:30 p.m., Heritage Room. This event offers students the opportunity to make a pinata; play Loteria, a traditional game of chance; and to learn about Hispanic culture.

    Salsa Dancing with Instruction — Tuesday, Sept. 20, 5 to 7 p.m., WSC Plaza/Patio, Rain Location: WSC. Learn how to Salsa dance as part of Community Day.

    Penn State Scranton

    Hispanic Heritage Movie night (movie TBD)Thursday, Sept. 15, 6 p.m. in the SLC Game Room, with free snacks and refreshments. 

    Hispanic Heritage Month TriviaWednesday, Sept. 21, noon–1 p.m., in The View Café. 

    Cultural Cuisine Friday featuring with guest speaker Saul Flores Friday, Sept. 23, 3–4 p.m. in The View Café. Flores walked 5,328 miles through 10 countries to document how grueling and dangerous the journey of immigrants to the United States can be and to raise money for an elementary school in Atencingo, Mexico. The story of his journey, accompanied by a series of photographs, capture the essence of the people, communities and cultures he encountered along the way. Food and refreshments will include a “walking taco bar” and are free of charge.

    Penn State York

    Penn State York will hold several events to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month, including:

    Hispanic Heritage Month Kickoff – Sept. 13, 11 a.m., upper floor of the Joe and Rosie Ruhl Student Community Center  in the hallway next to the fitness center. Weather permitting, it will be held outside of the center's upper entrance.

    Please join the Penn State York Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee to mark the start of Hispanic Heritage Month. Light refreshments will be provided and posters highlighting facts about the month will be unveiled. The posters will then be displayed around the campus throughout the month. This event is open to Penn State York faculty, students and staff. 

    THINKFAST Interactive Trivia (Hispanic Heritage theme) — Sept. 13, noon-1:30 p.m., upper floor of the Joe and Rosie Ruhl Student Community Center in the lounge area next to the fitness center. Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month with the University Programming Board and play some trivia with a Hispanic Heritage Month theme and win some fun prizes.

    Global Eats — Hispanic Heritage Month — Sept. 22 and Oct. 4, noon, Rosie’s Café, Joe and Rosie Ruhl Student Community Center.

    The Global Engagement Office will host two Global Eats, events designed to increase awareness and appreciation of the cultural diversity on our campus. Every month countries will be featured, and the Penn State York community will get to experience foods and learn about the culture of the featured country from students, faculty and staff from the respective country. 

    • Thursday, Sept. 22 — Featured countries are El Salvador, Mexico, Panama, and Venezuela. 
    • Tuesday, Oct. 4 — Featured countries are Colombia, Dominican Republic, and Puerto Rico. During this time, there will also be performers. 


    Rhythms of Hispanic Heritage — Oct. 4, noon, Rosie’s Café, Joe and Rosie Ruhl Student Community Center. A performance featuring Colombian Balladeer Rammiro de Colombia; Los Monstros, a five-person group performing Salsa, Merengue, Bachata; and Dance Instructor Christina Osorio.