Rice honors Hispanic Heritage Month with dances, dinners and panel discussions

Whether you’re a salsa novice or you stan Selena so hard you’ve sewn and spangled your own imitations of her Astrodome concert outfits, there’s something for everyone in Rice’s celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month this year.

Click to enlarge.

Click to enlarge.

National Hispanic Heritage Month spans Sept. 15-Oct. 15 and pays tribute to the generations of Hispanic Americans who have positively influenced and enriched our nation and society.

Rice is celebrating with its own lineup of events including an alumni meet-and-greet, discussions of Hispanics in STEM and colorism in Latinx communities — even a pool party Sept. 27 hosted by the Hispanic Association for Cultural Enrichment at Rice.

“This calendar highlights the amazing offerings available at Rice and within the Houston community,” said William Edmond, Rice’s assistant director of multicultural affairs.

“Over the course of Hispanic Heritage Month, we have the opportunity to showcase the diverse talent of our students, staff, faculty and alumni,” said Edmond, who encouraged the Rice community to “attend what programs you can and promote others to friends and colleagues.”

Highlights of the month’s programming include “Life After Rice,” a Latinx alumni event Sept. 18 at 11:45 a.m. in the Esther M. Cohen Room at the Cohen House where students can enjoy lunch while learning from other Hispanic graduates. A dinner the following night, Sept. 19 at 5:30 p.m. in the Farnsworth Pavilion, will serve as the official Rice kickoff for Hispanic Heritage Month.

A free street salsa class will be offered Sept. 30 at 7 p.m. in the Rice Memorial Center’s Grand Hall, led by Raul Orlando Edwards, the founder and director of Strictly Street Salsa and one of Houston’s most respected names in Latin dance. Open to dancers of all levels, this no-partner-required class promises to be fun and easy to follow. A chance to show off newly acquired dancing skills comes the following week:  A salsa social will take place in the Grand Hall Oct. 4 at 8 p.m.

Ginger Kerrick, a physicist and flight director at NASA, will host an intimate talk Oct. 9 at 5:30 p.m. in the Multicultural Center on the topic of Hispanics in STEM. The following day, social justice activist Sofia Pertuz will convene a panel in Farnsworth Pavilion at 6 p.m. to discuss colorism in Latinx communities.

The month finishes with a free screening of “Selena” Oct. 10 at 9 p.m. in the Grand Hall and a master class Oct. 12 at 12:30 p.m. with Alexis Zanety, held off-campus at Hermann Park’s Judson Robinson Jr. Community Center. This free class will explore fundamental dance techniques and movement as taught in Cuba, all performed to the sounds of Latin percussion and taught by one of Cuba’s most respected names in Afro-Cuban dance.

For a full lineup of Hispanic Heritage Month events at Rice, visit the Office of Multicultural Affairs’ Facebook page or oma.rice.edu/events.

About Katharine Shilcutt

Katharine Shilcutt is a media relations specialist in Rice University's Office of Public Affairs.