The reflections on Hispanic Heritage Month have been of pride and representation. Having his various identities honored was important to Elon University sophomore Daniel Castillo.

“Personally, it is something I feel prideful for,” Castillo said. “I feel like most of the time, our culture gets looked over and not given the proper attention that it needs. I am proud that Elon puts so much effort into Hispanic Heritage Month.”

Hispanic Heritage Month is celebrated nationally from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15. At Elon, the celebrations start as early as Sept. 3 and go on throughout the rest of the semester.

Sylvia Muñoz, associate director for the Center for Race, Ethnicity, and Diversity Education (CREDE) and director of the Spanish Center, said the events are not limited to the time span of Hispanic Heritage Month.

“We do not do just a month; we keep on going for the whole semester,” Muñoz said. “We finish with the tailgate. We do not just want everything to be within the month because the Latino community is part of the whole Elon community, and we should not feel like we have to hide once the month is over, so we keep going.”

Muñoz said all of the events included are supposed to be fun, but there are some that involve food and music and others that are meant to start and continue conversations around the Latino/Hispanic identity.

The Office of Cultural and Special Programs has helped the Latino/Hispanic community by making sure both the fun and meaningful events occur. They were able to bring in Latina folk-pop artist Gina Chavez for a performance and a lunch with Elon students.

“She shouted out El Centro a lot,” Muñoz said. “She actually cared about the students and wanted to know all of their names, and she talked a lot about intersectionality. They are intentional about who they bring because they do not want just the performance, but also someone engaging with the people in a different way.”

Castillo said he appreciates events like these as he was able to attend the Chavez concert and is grateful that the students are given a voice themselves.

“My favorite event is the oratorical contest,” Castillo said. “I really like the event because so many students will share their voices and thoughts on so many things, which is huge. They have songs and poems that show emotions behind the essence of Hispanic Heritage Month as well as a lot of what Latinx students go through.”

For both Castillo and Muñoz, the next step is involving the Alamance community.

“I want to see all cultures represented in a festival where we invite the Alamance community,” Castillo said.

Muñoz believes the “Elon bubble” needs to be opened to those around the university.

“Elon is so isolated from the community,” Muñoz said. “It is really important to bring the community here. I see this as my responsibility to give back to the community. The Latino identity is very complex. The only way we can learn about each other is by attending these events and really engaging in these programs.”