Hispanic Heritage

Hispanic Heritage Month kicks off September 20
September 20, 2013

The official WPI on-campus kickoff to Hispanic Heritage Month starts with a dinner and presentation and ends with an inspiring evening of salsa. In between, WPI’s Office of Multicultural Affairs aims to remind us of the contributions of Hispanic and Latino Americans to the United States,

Hispanic Heritage Month (September 15 to October 15) offers an opportunity for our university as a whole to reflect on, appreciate, and celebrate the Latino-Americans who laid the groundwork for the progress we have made as a nation,” says Michael Harper, outreach coordinator for Diversity Programs.

In his role, Harper strives to foster a community on campus that respects and celebrates diversity in all its facets. “We work to foster particularly high-touch connections, and provide outreach and support to underrepresented students, while fostering inclusion and pluralism across the student body.”

Celebrating a heritage month is just a fraction of what the Multicultural Affairs Office does on campus. From summer camps, pre-orientations, guest lectures, and discussions based on controversial social issues and newsworthy items, the office strives to maintain and increase an ethnically diverse student population, as well as increase and promote diversity in the STEM fields after graduation.

With issues of race and class becoming more and more prevalent, be it Trevon Martin, immigration, or LGBTQ issues, it is important to remember that our differences as a nation are what make us uniquely American,” says Harper.

“A very important aspect of this goal is the idea that diversity is important, but its importance doesn’t come from the need to arbitrarily uplift those groups who have been marginalized in the past,” says Harper. “It is important because bringing those groups of people who have traditionally been underrepresented (especially in regard to STEM careers) to the table will enhance our nation’s creativity and competitiveness in the global economy by bringing a broad range of experiences, perspectives, and ideas to the drawing board to tackle the global problems of the future.”

Schedule of events for Hispanic Heritage Month

Dinner: Enjoy authentic Hispanic food and drink, as well as the musical styles of the nationally renowned Grupo Fantasia. Preceding the dinner will be a presentation by SHPE and HCSA and a talk by Angel Rivera, associate professor, Humanities & Arts. Sept. 20, 6-8pm, Campus Center Odeum

Hispanic Film Series: Raising Victor Vargas, Sept. 18, 7pm, Light in the Darkness, Sept. 25, 7pm, both in Fuller Labs, Perreault Lower

SHPE Empanadas Sale: Sept. 24, Fountain (if rain, Campus Center)

Lecture: “Rephrasing the Nation to a New Beat: Hip-Hop by Dominican-Puerto Rican Artists,” Roberto Irizarry, assistant professor, University of New Haven, Oct. 11, 5-6:30pm, SL 104

Salsa and Merengue Dance Night:(Details TBD)



Curious about diversity on campus? Here’s a quick glance from our 2012 freshman class.

First-time, full-time freshmen by race/ethnicity/gender, Fall 2012
Race/Ethnicity Female Male Total
Nonresident Alien 45 78 123
Hispanic/Latino 20 43 63
AmericanIndian/Alaska Native 0 1 1
Asian 20 24 44
Black/AfricanAmerican 9 11 20
NativeHawaiian/Other Pacific Islander 0 0 0
White 206 441 647
Two or more races 8 22 30
Race/ethnicityunknown 3 17 20
Total 311 637 948
% of Total 32.8% 67.2% 100%