La Casa, the Indiana University Latino Cultural Center, is celebrating National Hispanic Heritage Month with a variety of events on the Bloomington campus leading up to a yearlong celebration of its 40th anniversary.
“The theme of the month and our anniversary celebration is ‘Looking Back: Looking Forward,’ and is meant to celebrate both the history and future of our center and Latino culture as a whole at Indiana University,” La Casa director Lillian Casillas said. “We’re focusing on things that display our Latino culture across campus, including collections on display at the Kinsey Institute and the IU Art Museum, a film series at IU Cinema, Ballet Hispanico visiting the IU Auditorium, the Latino Studies program and the research our Latino student groups and faculty have been involved with. This is not just about us; it’s about the campus as a whole.”
The percentage of Latino students entering Indiana University Bloomington this fall as freshmen rose to 4.9 percent of the class, an increase of 7.3 percent over the 2012-13 school year — figures that Latino Studies program director John Nieto-Phillips said represent the support given to Latino students by both La Casa and the broader university community.
“For the past 40 years, La Casa has been like a home away from home for Latina and Latino students, providing support and resources as they succeed in their education,” he said. “It has also been instrumental to IU’s efforts to be a more diverse and welcoming campus and has played a vital role in educating the public about Latino issues.”
National Hispanic Heritage Month began Sept. 15. While a full calendar is available online, celebratory events include a one-hour exhibition on Latin American art Sept. 20 at the IU Art Museum, a “Salsa Under the Stars” event Sept. 28 at the Neal-Marshall Black Culture Center and Festival Latino Oct. 5 in Dunn Meadow.
La Casa will celebrate its 40th anniversary throughout the year but will host a kickoff celebration Oct. 11 to 13. Special events include a Latino student organizations’ reunion, a banquet at the Neal-Marshall Black Culture Center and an alumni/student networking roundtable and lunch.