Skip menu links

Panhandle State Celebrates Hispanic Serving Institution Week and the Start of Hispanic Heritage Month

Panhandle State Communications on 09/13/2021

As the first Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI) in Oklahoma, Oklahoma Panhandle State University is excited about HSI Week kicking off September 13-18. The Hispanic Student Center, El Centro, the Hispanic American Leadership Organization (HALO), Student Life, and the Panhandle State Alumni Office are partnering to make this year’s Hispanic Heritage Month unforgettable. This week is intended to celebrate, commemorate, and recognize the accomplishments of Latino and Hispanic pioneers across the country.

Director of the Hispanic Student Center, Valentina Allen stated, “This is the first year that El Centro is open to students for Hispanic Serving Institution Week and we are excited to celebrate the meaning behind what HSI Week means to us. This year, El Centro and HALO are kicking off Hispanic Heritage Month with HSI Week by hosting a series of webinars that all students can attend virtually. We are excited to celebrate the existence and importance of being an HSI.”

University President, Dr. Tim Faltyn stated, “I am proud of Valentina Allen and the work that her team has done so far for El Centro. I look forward to the events planned for HSI week and for Hispanic Heritage Month.”

Program Director for Upward Bound, Sonia Hernandez, commented, “We are excited to be part of a Hispanic Serving Institution and having the opportunity to participate in the events for 2021 Hispanic Heritage Month. Special recognition to all the students working towards this event and El Centro for keeping doors open for our students. Es un gran dia para ser Aggie!”

Staff Sponsor for HALO, Alma Avalos commented, “Being an alumni of Panhandle State and having served as a HALO officer, I have first hand seen how much OPSU has grown, through a large increase in Hispanic student body population to being designated as the first Hispanic Serving Institution in Oklahoma. Due to the recognition in being an HSI, we are able to host more cultural events and educate others on campus.”

HALO Officers released this statement, “Through the hard work and dedication that HALO has put forth year after year to obtain this incredible recognition of becoming an HSI, we will continue to work diligently towards upholding the importance of HSI week as well as Hispanic Heritage Month.”

Associate Vice President of Academic Affairs, Brad Duren commented, “I am proud that OPSU is the first HSI in the state of Oklahoma, and am honored to serve as the project director of the Title V Hispanic Serving Institution grant. The passion and vision of El Centro and groups like HALO position OPSU to be the college of choice for Hispanic students. HSI Week and Hispanic Heritage Month are both celebrations of our Hispanic students and culture, which is an integral and exciting part of who we are as an institution.”

Some planned events are: Guymon Fiesta on September 19th; OPSU Multicultural Festival on September 23rd; Multicultural Food Festival on October 20th; and a performance by Core Ensemble in Hughes Strong on October 21st.

Core Ensemble’s live play titled “Tres Vidas” will be hosted by El Centro, in partnership with Panhandle State Alumni Office, a live play from Core Ensemble titled Tres Vidas. It is covers the stories of three legendary Latin American women; Frida Kahlo (Mexico), Rufina Amaya (Argentina), Alfonsina Storni (El Salvador). The live play will be hosted on October 21st from 7pm to 9pm. Refreshments will be provided before the play in El Centro during the Grand Opening event at 6pm.