5 Ways College Students Can Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month

National Hispanic Heritage Month is a time to honor the history of Hispanic and Latino/a people. Learn five ways college students can celebrate.

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by Catherine Lafuente

Updated September 23, 2022

Reviewed by Susana Muñoz, Ph.D.

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5 Ways College Students Can Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month
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What Is Hispanic Heritage Month?

Each year, between Sept. 15 and Oct. 15, National Hispanic Heritage Month celebrates the history and achievements of Hispanic and Latino/a people.

Organizations and communities honor their contributions, which have impacted the United States in various ways. The celebrations provide countless learning opportunities for people of all ages.

Beginning as a weeklong tradition in 1968, the celebration was expanded in 1988. The mid-September start coincides with the independence dates of several Latin American countries, including Guatemala, Costa Rica, Honduras, and El Salvador. Mexico and Chile also celebrate their independence days during this period.

During the month — through various events, initiatives, and activities — we recognize important Hispanic and Latino/a figures, acknowledge their accomplishments, and share in the vibrant cultures and heritages that make up the Hispanic and Latino/a communities.

Why Hispanic Heritage Month Is Important

National Hispanic Heritage Month amplifies Hispanic and Latino/a voices and shines a light on communities and cultures across the U.S.

It celebrates American diversity and offers an education on the impact that Hispanic and Latino/a people have made on the nation. The celebration also gives Hispanic and Latino/a communities space to commemorate their past and look to the future.

Part of the goal of Hispanic Heritage Month is to increase the visibility of people, achievements, and events that have helped shape the United States. You can learn about famed artists, leaders, performers, and politicians who continue making a difference.

Many Hispanic Heritage Month activities and initiatives strive to build awareness.

Organizations may highlight ongoing challenges for Hispanic and Latino/a people and bring attention to issues within their communities. The month also celebrates the multiple and diverse identities among Hispanic and Latino/a people, welcoming others to observe and take part in their traditions and festivals.

Hispanic Heritage Month provides ample educational material for classrooms and communities.

These celebrations can stimulate community involvement, provide inspirational content, and encourage more organizations to increase diversity and opportunities for Hispanic and Latino/a people.

5 Ways to Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month 2022

  • Participate in a Festival: National Hispanic Heritage Month features many exciting events, including independence day celebrations, Día de la Raza, and food festivals.
  • Study History: Classrooms often cover Hispanic and Latino/a history throughout Hispanic Heritage Month. However, you can also take part in learning outside of school. For example, you can join a lecture series, attend a workshop, or do some personal reading.
  • Take Part in a Class: Many communities offer Hispanic and Latino/a presentations and classes to share the cultures with others. Consider taking cooking classes or reading Hispanic and Latino/a literature. Incorporate parts of what you learn into your life.
  • Attend an Exhibit or Show: While many museums feature Hispanic and Latino/a collections and installations throughout the year, they often increase these exhibits during National Hispanic Heritage Month. Local colleges and universities may also celebrate the works of Hispanic and Latino/a creators and artists during this period.
  • Support Hispanic and Latino/a Businesses: You can celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month simply by visiting and supporting local Hispanic and Latino/a businesses. For example, visit a Latina-owned restaurant, or buy clothes and goods from Hispanic shop owners.

Hispanic Heritage Month Activities and Resources

Offering various resources centered on National Hispanic Heritage Month, this web portal provides information on the celebratory month, an event calendar, and links to meaningful exhibits across the country and online. Visitors can also access personal and educational resources. This center celebrates the Latino/a community's contributions to arts, sciences, history, and culture. It also runs educational and professional development programs. Visitors can find information on free events, exhibits, and educational materials and resources. Comprising Latino/a artists and cultural organizations, NALAC develops programs and highlights resources in an effort to celebrate Latino/a people and culture. The association also spotlights the community's diverse perspectives, advocacy efforts, and development opportunities. The NPS hosts a section dedicated to Hispanic Heritage Month, offering a portal for educators, information on Hispanic and Latino/a history and people, and details on various events and activities available in the country's various parks. Scholastic provides educational resources for teachers to cover Hispanic Heritage Month in their classrooms. Visitors can access links to useful websites, along with ideas for themed class projects and presentations.

National Hispanic Heritage Month encourages people to broaden their horizons, learn about Hispanic and Latino/a heritages, and experience different cultures. This celebratory month emphasizes Hispanic and Latino/a art, accomplishments, and educational resources. It also increases visibility for great Hispanic and Latino/a people from the past and present.

Go to BestColleges Hispanic Heritage Month hub to find more stories and resources.

Frequently Asked Questions About Hispanic Heritage Month

When is Hispanic Heritage Month celebrated?

Hispanic Heritage Month is celebrated every year from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15. It began as Hispanic Heritage Week in 1968, when Congress passed legislation. President Lyndon B. Johnson then signed the bill, which established National Hispanic Heritage Week, into law.

The decision to extend Hispanic Heritage Week into a monthlong observance happened two decades later. U.S. Rep. Esteban Torres of California brought the idea to the table. The bill languished on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives, but U.S. Sen. Paul Simon created similar legislation.

This bill passed the U.S. Congress and was signed by President Ronald Reagan in 1988. President George H.W. Bush signed Proclamation 6021 the next year, sealing the deal. Since then, every sitting U.S. president has issued a proclamation designating Sept. 15 through Oct. 15 as National Hispanic Heritage Month.

What countries are included in Hispanic Heritage Month?

Hispanic Heritage Month celebrates the cultures and contributions of people whose ancestors came from countries located in North America, Central America, South America, the Caribbean, and Europe.

Among the countries included are:

Why is Hispanic Heritage Month in September?

Hispanic Heritage Month starts in September because a number of countries observe their independence day on Sept. 15. These include Costa Rica, Guatemala, Nicaragua, El Salvador, and Honduras.

Mexico and Chile also commemorate their independence days in September: Mexico on Sept. 16 and Chile on Sept. 18.

Hispanic Heritage Month also extends into October because other culturally significant days occur during this time. Most notable is Dia de la Raza, a decolonized alternative to Columbus Day.