Hispanic Heritage Month: University's Encuentro a motivational leadership conference
Thursday, Oct. 3, 2013
MANHATTAN -- Motivation, leadership and career development, as well as knowledge of the university system, are the focus of the seventh annual Midwest HALO Encuentro, Tuesday, Oct. 8, at Kansas State University.
HALO stands for the university's Hispanic American Leadership Organization.
"The Encuentro began as a tool to encourage the growing number of Hispanic students in the state of Kansas to attend college, and those already in college to start making serious career goals. It has come as no surprise that the number of attendees grows each year," said Mirta Chavez, director of multicultural programs and services at Kansas State University.
In 2010 the U.S. Census Bureau reported that 21.8 percent of the state's population was multicultural. Out of that total, 10.5 percent were Hispanic, which is almost 50 percent of the entire multicultural population, according to Chavez.
"The Encuentro started with a small group of students, which has now grown to more than 400 Hispanic high school and college students from across the state of Kansas," Chavez said. "Kansas State University has become well known for taking the lead in providing an essential service to the Hispanic community with this event. It is a privilege to work for an institution which is proactive and in the forefront of addressing multicultural issues."
"The goal of the Encuentro is to provide an environment where students can learn about the unexpected challenges they may encounter during their collegiate years, and how others before them overcame these challenges and attained their educational goals," said Jeff Andrade, senior in electrical engineering, Emporia, and president of the university's Hispanic American Leadership Organization. "The Encuentro is also an educational tool that assists in Latino student identity development."
Guest speaker for the Encuentro will be Tommy Walker, co-producer of HBO's "The Latino List," which explores the meaning of Latino in the 21st century. Walker has also produced and directed several promotional films for multicultural non-profits such as the Robin Hood Foundation sponsored Kipp School and Norman Lear’s non-profit Declare Yourself a campaign to energize a new movement of young voters. Walker has worked in film and television for twenty-four years.
Also at Encuentro, Latino-Hispanic musical entertainment will be provided during lunch by Tropa Nortena, which plays a variety of norteno Mexican music that contains a bajo sexto, accordion, bass, guitar and drums.
The Hispanic American Leadership Organization is one of the four core multicultural student organizations at Kansas State University. The group collaborates with the League of United Latin American Citizens, or LULAC; Bilingual Student Education Organization, BESO; Society of Hispanic Engineers, SHIPE; and Latina/o Greek organizations in planning and implementing activities for Hispanic Heritage Month, which is Sept. 14-Oct. 15. All of these organizations play a vital role in promoting the Hispanic culture across campus and in the local community.
Along with its work helping to plan Hispanic Heritage Month activities, Andrade said the Hispanic American Leadership Organization plans to start a chapter at Manhattan High School this year.