Penn State Celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month

Paella and Recipe
Friday, October 28, 2016

National Hispanic Heritage Month, which dates back to 1968 and is celebrated between mid-September and mid-October, was in full swing at University Park for the third year in a row.

To kick off the month, Finance & Business hosted a luncheon at The Nittany Lion Inn on Thursday, September 22. More than 100 guests enjoyed sampling a variety of traditional Hispanic foods including fresh corn tortilla chips, salsa fresca, queso sauce, a taco station, and fresh fruit. The plentiful taco station featured pork carnitas, chicken tinga, grilled seitan, guacamole, Spanish rice, and black beans. Los Tikis, a Columbian musical group, provided beautiful background music for the event.

David Gray, Senior Vice President for Finance & Business, welcomed attendees and introduced guest speaker, Dr. Emilio Parrado, Professor and Chair of the Department of Sociology and Director of the Latin American and Latino Studies Program at the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Parrado gave a presentation on New Realities of Latin American Migration to the United States.

Hispanic Heritage Month Committee members, Steph Flanagan and Brynn Rousselin, introduced World Cafe as a new addition to this year’s celebrations. World Cafe facilitated conversations about the culture, customs, and traditions of Hispanic and Latino communities by bringing together members of the Finance & Business community and volunteers from the Penn State community hailing from Columbia, Mexico, Cuba and Puerto Rico.

“The goal of this activity was for the Finance & Business community to bond through learning about our similarities and our differences—and to have some fun, too,” says Rosetta Webster, assistant manager of the North Food District.

A cooking demonstration was hosted by Penn State Food Services at Warnock Dining Commons on Friday, September 30.   Penn State volunteers, Minerva Saggese and Eunice Hockenberry, gave students and other guests a glimpse into the process of cooking Spanish Paella. The dish was offered with an accompaniment of salad with fresh avocado vinaigrette and Mexican chocolate cake for dessert.  Local artist, Ben Saggese, displayed his Hispanic paintings at the event.  On-theme entertainment was provided by flamenco dancer, Maria Viteri, and a resident dance group, Mexican Joy.

Amongst the food, music, and dancing, Hispanic Heritage Month in Finance & Business was pronounced a success. “I feel this was our best effort yet in introducing our culture to our community,” says Webster.

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