Campus Life

Celebrating National Hispanic Heritage Month at Penn State

Campus events to take place University-wide through mid-October

Using live music, dance and storytelling, Mexico Beyond Mariachi artists will immerse audiences in the magical realism that permeates Mexican culture with the theatrical musical, “Sugar Skull! A Dia de los Muertos Musical Adventure," on Sept. 29 at University Park. Credit: Christopher DugganAll Rights Reserved.

For a list of virtual events celebrating National Hispanic Heritage Month in 2020, please click here.

Penn State student organizations and units at campuses across the commonwealth will be holding events in honor of National Hispanic Heritage Month, celebrated Sept. 15-Oct. 15. Here’s a look at some of the events taking place at the University’s campuses. Events are free unless otherwise indicated.

In September 1968, the U.S. Congress authorized 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 Spain, Mexico and the Spanish-speaking nations of Central America, South America and the Caribbean. 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.

This list will be updated as events are added throughout the month; the University community is invited to send diversity and inclusion events at Penn State for consideration to


Sept. 15Hispanic Heritage Month Children’s Day. Join us for children-age arts and crafts, music and fun. Hosted by the Penn State’s Latinx student groups and Schlow Centre Region Library; sponsored by the University’s Multicultural Resource Center. 2-4 p.m., Schlow Centre Region Library.

Sept. 16Latinx students’ HUB takeover. Noon-4 p.m., Ground Floor, HUB-Robeson Cultural Center.

Sept. 17The Kat Call: Calling Us Out,” a presentation by Kat Lazo, director, producer and host of “The Kat Call” on Latino digital media web platform Mitú. Sponsored by the Bellisario College of Communications. 6:30 p.m., Foster Auditorium, Paterno Library.

Sept. 18 A screening of the 2018 documentary, “Dolores,” and post-screening discussion about Dolores Huerta’s leadership, will be facilitated by student leaders. Hosted by the HHM 2019 Committee and Student Engagement Programs; co-sponsored by the Office of the Vice Provost for Educational Equity and the Paul Robeson Cultural Center. 6-8 p.m., Freeman Auditorium, HUB-Robeson Center.

Sept. 21Hispanic Heritage Month Cultural Night, with keynote Julissa Calderon, actress and video producer for BuzzFeed’s Pero Like, and music by Dante. FREE tickets for the dinner will be available at the Multicultural Resource Center, 220 Grange Building, beginning on Monday, Sept. 9. 6-9 p.m., Heritage Hall, HUB-Robeson Center.

Sept. 27Hispanic Heritage Month Keynote Event, with keynote speaker Dolores Huerta, American labor leader and civil rights activist, co-founder of the National Farmworkers Association (later the United Farm Workers), 2012 Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient, and first Latina inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame. Due to unexpected circumstances this event  (formerly scheduled for 6 p.m.) will begin at 8 p.m., with doors opening at 7:30 p.m. Schwab Auditorium.

Sept. 28Inauguration of the Penn State Dolores Huerta Day of Service. Students may register for the Day of Service by contacting Borja Gutierrez at to inquire about space availability. Sponsored by the HHM 2019 Committee, Office of the Vice Provost for Educational Equity, Department of History, Latina/o Studies Program, Service and Leadership Opportunities, the Sustainable Food Systems Program, Sustainability Institute and UPAC.

Sept. 29Mexico Beyond Mariachi presents Sugar Skull! A Dia de Los Muertos Musical Adventure.” Tickets: Adult $21; University Park Students $15; 18 and younger $21. 4 p.m., Eisenhower Auditorium.

Oct. 15Hispanic Heritage Month Closing Event: An Evening with Quiara Alegría Hudes, American playwright and 2012 Pulitzer Prize recipient for Drama. Sponsored by the Latina/o Studies Program. 6 p.m., Foster Auditorium.

Sept. 18Imani Winds and Catalyst Quartet will join talents for a concert featuring the world premiere of “(imm)migration: music of change,” a work by Catalyst violinist and composer Jessie Montgomery, inspired by the Great Migration of African Americans, during the early to middle 20th century, from the perspective of Montgomery’s great-grandfather William McCauley. The program also includes Imani performing “Afro Blue” (a jazz standard) by Mongo Santamaria and “Cane” by Jason Moran (inspired by the composer’s Louisiana bayou ancestry); Catalyst playing “Leyendas: An Andean Walkabout” (a mixture of Western classical and Andean folk elements) by Gabriela Frank; and both ensembles performing “Concierto de Camara” by Puerto Rico native Roberto Sierra. 7:30 p.m., Schwab Auditorium.

Sept. 17Classical Coffeehouse featuring Imani Winds and Catalyst Quartet, who will perform a joint concert on Sept. 18. 8 p.m., Robb Hall, Hintz Family Alumni Center.


Sept. 16 — Penn State Abington will host spoken word artist Carlos Andres Gomez, a Colombian American poet and author of “Man Up: Reimagining Modern Manhood. Gomez is the author of “Where Are You Really From” and “What Latino Looks Like,” and was named 2016 Best Diversity Artist by Campus Activities Magazine. Noon-2 p.m., Lubert Commons in the Lares Building.


Sept. 19 — For more than 40 years, Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer José Galvez has used black-and-white film to create a powerful and unparalleled historical record of the Latino experience in America. Galvez will display his work during the day and be the keynote at a reception where he will talk about Latino life in the United States. Exhibit: 9 a.m.-5 p.m., SLEP Pondview. Reception: 6 p.m. in SLEP Pondview.


Sept. 18 — Latin Fest, Sponsored by the Berks Diversity committee, will include educational activities about Latin American countries and Hispanics in the U.S., a fashion show featuring traditional dress, a special live musical performance by Latin band Los Monstros, and Latin American dance and food. Contact Sharon Pitterson-Ogaldez, coordinator of Diversity & International Programs,, for more information. 5 p.m., Perkins Student Center Auditorium.

Sept. 25-Oct. 16 Charlas con Chocolates: On Wednesdays, participants can enjoy cultural conversations in Spanish while sampling chocolates of the Americas. Contact Donna Chambers, assistant teaching professor in Spanish,, for more information 3:30 p.m., room 122, Gaige Engineering and Business Technology Building.

Sept. 27 Unity Day is an annual Penn State event that helps bring students, faculty, staff and the community together to celebrate diversity. This year’s event will be a celebration of all cultures with a special focus on Hispanic heritage. Contact Sharon Pitterson-Ogaldez, coordinator of Diversity & International Programs,, for more information. 12 noon – Perkins Student Center Lawn.

Oct. 15 Bilingual Story Telling. Presentation of traditional Spanish children’s stories at Lauer’s Park Elementary School. Contact Donna Chambers, assistant teaching professor in Spanish,, for more information 3:30 p.m., Lauer's Park Elementary School, 251 N. 2nd St, Reading, Pennsylvania.

Oct. 18 — The seventh annual Penn State Berks Latino Forum is open to students from all Berks County high schools, as well as members of the local Latino community. This year’s keynote speaker is Javier Ávila, renowned speaker, poet, author and professor, who will present “The Trouble with My Name.” Ávila will tell the story of his life and what it means to be the American of the future. Contact Belén Rodríguez Mourelo, professor of Spanish and division head for Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences, at, for more information. 9:30 a.m.–2:30 p.m., Perkins Student Center Auditorium.

Oct. 24 Culturally Argentina: Dr. Carlos Tapia. An evening of culture, food, and music of Argentina. Contact Donna Chambers, assistant teaching professor in Spanish,, for more information. 5 p.m., room 118, Perkins Student Center.


Sept. 17 — “The Walk of the Immigrants,” with Saul Flores. In three months, Flores walked 5,328 miles through 10 countries and nine border crossings to document the hardships of a journey of immigrants to the U.S. and to raise money for an elementary school in Atencingo, Mexico. Lunch provided. Join Flores after his presentation for a talk-back and dessert. Email Bridget O’Donnell,, for more information. Noon-1:25 p.m., Tomezsko Lounge.

Sept. 18 — Salsa Lessons. Email Tina Brackett-Wood,, for more information. 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m., Student Union/Parsons Hall.


Sept. 26 — Mystic Warriors, an Andean music act. More information about the group can be found at Contact Chad Long, director of student affairs,, for more information. 12:15 p.m., Student Center, Williams Building.


Sept.18 — The Hispanic Heritage Film Fest will feature documentaries throughout the day. The feature film "Cesar Chavez: An American Hero" (2014) will be shown at 4 p.m. in the Student Community Center, with a second screening at 8 p.m. in McKeesport Hall. Open to members of the Greater Allegheny campus community. 10 a.m.-6 p.m., Student Community Center.

Sept. 25 — International Latin Dance Workshop w/ Demidov Dance Pittsburgh. Free and open to the public. 12:15-12:45 p.m. (Common Hour), Student Community Center.

Oct. 2 — Day of the Dead Lantern Crafting Project. Finished lantern crafts will be displayed on the Day of the Dead, Friday, Nov. 1. 12:15-12:45 p.m. (Common Hour), Student Community Center.

Oct. 9 — The Hispanic Heritage Fiesta, with live music. Free and open to the public. 12:15-12:45 p.m. (Common Hour), Student Community Center.

For more information about these events at Penn State Greater Allegheny, contact Justin Dandoy,


Sept. 18 — Javier Ávila's one-man show, “The Perfect Latino,” will blend comedy and poetry to explore the American Latino experience, drawing on the arts, education and entertainment to deliver a powerful message about diversity, inclusion, race and representation. The program is free and open to the public. 6:30 p.m., 115 Evelyn Graham Academic Building.


Sept. 19Hispanic Heritage Month kick-off celebration, with a mariachi band, food, and historical display featuring people of Hispanic origin who have had an impact in U.S. history and society. The display will stay up for at least a week. Free and open to the public. 12:15 p.m., Centre Hall.


Sept. 21 — Penn State Scranton will host a Hispanic Heritage Month Celebration, featuring Latino food and performances. 2:30- 6:30 p.m., The View cafeteria.


Oct. 8 — Hispanic Violinist Alice Marie will play in our student commons area where we will also be serving Sopapilla, Hispanic cheese cake. Noon, student commons.


Sept. 23-27 — Around the World — Take a "tour" around campus of different Hispanic/Latinx majority countries to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month. Visit these passive displays to learn more about Hispanic/Latinx culture, and receive information on these countries, and other giveaways. Madigan Library, Bush Campus Center, Hager Lifelong Education Center hallway, Klump Academic Center lobby, and Dauphin Hall lobby.

Sept. 25 — Spanish Fan Painting: Learn about the history of Spanish fans, and decorate your own fan. 3 p.m., Bush Campus Center patio; rain location: Campus Center TV Lounge.

Oct. 3 — Campus Quizzo. Enjoy weekly Campus Quizzo, with a twist: All questions will be about Hispanic/Latinx culture. 7 p.m., CC Commons dining unit, Bush Campus Center.

Oct. 8 — Hispanic Heritage Dinner. Mark the end of Hispanic Heritage Month with our annual celebratory dinner. Enjoy authentic cuisine and live music, featuring musical artist Trio Los Claveles. The event is open to the public. 5-7 p.m., Capitol Eatery, Dauphin Hall.

Last Updated September 16, 2020