Bringing diversity to the table

Bringing diversity to the table

by ecka Neary

Although the Hispanic population at Simpson is about 1 percent,it isn’t stopping students from celebrating Hispanic HeritageMonth.

“What is really important about this is the students at Simpsonhave opportunities to develop an understanding of culture,” saidWalter Lain, assistant dean for multicultural and internationalaffairs. “After all, I think of culture as a sense of a sharedcommunity experience that we build together.”

Hispanic Heritage Month is celebrated from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15.It honors the anniversaries of the independence of various LatinAmerican countries such as Chile and Mexico.

At Simpson, events celebrating Hispanic heritage are designed todraw students’ attention to the importance of diversity.

“Simpson, as an institution, places a high value on diversity,”Lain said. “Events like these are powerful determinants of studentsatisfaction and Simpson’s commitment to communityunderstanding.”

Sophomore Omar Padilla said that learning about and valuingdiversity is important during college as well as in life beyondschool.

“Diversity is important because people will not live inIndianola forever,” Padilla said.

According to senior Gina Cron, president of MulticulturalStudents Association, it’s always important for everyone to learnabout people who are different from themselves.

“It’s a vital part of being a member of society to knowsomething outside of what you are used to,” Cron said.

The International Students Organization, Spanish Club and MSAhave all been involved in organizing events for the month.

“By having events … like dancing, it creates an interest andgets people enticed in Latino cultures,” said Margarita Savala,adjunct Spanish instructor.

Events included a showing of the film “Real Women Have Curves,”a community service project in Des Moines, Latin American food atPfeiffer Dinning Hall and salsa dancing this Saturday.

MSA helped the First United Methodist Church of Des Moinesrepair and paint a house that will later be occupied by a Hispanicfamily.

According to Savala, events like these that are through anon-campus organization are more likely to attract students. Shesaid similar events through groups in Des Moines may seemintimidating.

This is the first year MSA has planned and organized a number ofevents to be held at Simpson.

“It has always been a challenge to get people outside of ourorganization to attend events,” Cron said. “I don’t know if thereis a stigma about multicultural activities or if people just don’tknow [about the events].”

Simpson is home to a few students from Latin America includingfreshman Elizabeth Caballero from Mexico.

“Celebrating this month is important because it is reallydifficult being away from home,” Caballero said. “But this month… it feels like you are not too far away from home.”