Several clubs threw a festival last Wednesday to commemorate the beginning of Hispanic Heritage Month. The month is the period from September 15th to October 15th, and it honors Hispanic culture through various events and celebrations all over the USA.
NJIT, which is known for its status as a melting pot of a multitude of various cultures and backgrounds, embraced the start of the period through the Hispanic Heritage Month Kickoff. The Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers were the main organizers of the event and arranged for all of the performances in an effort to spread awareness of the beginning of the month.
The day had great weather for a huge celebration, which is what SHPE planned to host. The sun was bright and the temperature was cool; there were people already on the green enjoying the day as the event organizers approached the plaza with tables, speakers and such to set up the event. People watched the event organizers bring their sound equipment, and some asked what was going to happen. By the start of the kickoff, there were already hundreds of people outside lazing out on the green, waiting for something to happen.
The event started with NJIT’s very own Highlander Hype team; they kicked off the celebrations by breakdancing on the upper green. They were followed by singers, dancers, and other performers that showcased traditional Hispanic culture. Groups danced the bachata to traditional music in the center of the campus plaza, while singers performed their renditions popular Hispanic music. Both kinds of performances were met with fierce applause by the attendees.
Additionally, there was an abundance of free food outside for students to enjoy. The plaza became a festival filled with students. There were hundreds of people chatting about the event, watching the performances, eating the food, and enjoying the beautiful day.
To the sides of the event were the tables of the clubs that sponsored the event. Several organizations contributed: The Highlander Soccer Club, the Latin American Student Organization, the National Society of Black Engineers, Lambda Sigma Epsilon, Lambda Tau Omega, Lambda Upsilon Omega, The Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers, and also Campus Center. The event would not have been nearly as successful without all these organizations collaborating to create a huge festivity.
Many of their members showed up and enjoyed the kickoff, and it brought great amounts of publicity to those organizations in the form of students coming up to the tables to speak with members. The clubs were happy to answer the questions about their clubs and about their culture, many people crowded the tables and surrounded the tables all through the event.
Several hundred students stopped by throughout the day to observe the commotion going on in the center of campus, where music played throughout the day. Walter Cevallos, an Ecuadorian student attending Njit, was surprised by the event. “I had no idea that this was happening today. It was nice to have people dancing though. It was a really big thing!” He and his friend Alex Valvidiezo went on to say that the celebration was one of their favorites. “We hope Njit has more stuff like this!”
The event ended late in the afternoon, yet there were still stragglers that remained to enjoy the afterglow of the celebrations.
Julia Dale, an electrical engineer who attended the event, spoke well of the event “It was so much fun!” she gushed. “I liked the food and the dancing. As a commuter I don’t really get the chance to attend things like this, so it was nice.”