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Sources: Liz Renteria,;
and Mirta Chavez, 785-532-6276,
News release prepared by: Nellie Ryan, 785-532-6415,

Monday, Sept. 14, 2009


MANHATTAN -- In conjunction with National Hispanic Heritage Month, Sept. 15 to Oct. 15, Kansas State University has several special cultural events planned, including Encuentro 2009.

Hispanic Heritage Month at K-State is organized by the university's Hispanic American Leadership Organization with several other campus cultural organizations.

"The month gives our Hispanic organizations a chance to share their heritage," said Liz Renteria, a sophomore in social work, Olathe, and president of the Hispanic American Leadership Organization. "Our whole purpose throughout the year is to add diversity to campus, but this month gives us a chance to focus on our culture, make it more public, explain it and share it with everyone."

The roots of Hispanic Heritage Month dates back to 1968 when Congress authorized President Lyndon B. Johnson to proclaim a week in September as National Hispanic Heritage Week. The observance was expanded in 1988 to a monthlong celebration of the culture and traditions of U.S. residents who trace their roots to Spain, Mexico and the Spanish-speaking nations of Central America, South America and the Caribbean.

The Hispanic American Leadership Organization's main event for the month is Encuentro 2009, which will be 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 6, in the K-State Student Union Ballroom. Students from universities, community colleges and high schools throughout the Midwest are invited to attend Encuentro 2009 as an opportunity to learn about educational opportunities and Hispanic culture. The event is free and open to the public, but interested participants are asked to pre-register at

The keynote speaker for Encuentro 2009 will be Tey Diana Robelledo, distinguished professor and chair of the department of Spanish and Portuguese at the University of New Mexico. She is among the leading scholars on Latino/a literature and culture. Her current research focuses on Chicana/o literature and contemporary Southwest Hispano/a literature and culture.

"The point of Encuentro is to encourage those who are not in college to go to a university and continue their education," Renteria said. "For those already enrolled at a university, the objective is to start making serious career goals."

Hispanic Heritage Month events at K-State also include:

* Comedy Central comedian Gina Brillon will entertain at 8 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 15, in the Union's Forum Hall. The performance is sponsored by the Hispanic American Leadership Organization and the Union Program Council.

* A barbecue in celebration of Mexico's Independence Day will be at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 16, Anneberg Park in Manhattan. The barbecue is sponsored by the Hispanic American Leadership Organization and the League of United Latin American Citizens.

* Spanish guitarist Javier Mendoza will perform from noon to 1 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 22, on the Bosco Student Plaza. The performance is sponsored by the Hispanic American Leadership Organization and the Union Program Council.

* Various Hispanic and other cultural organizations on campus will have activities tables for K-State students and community members as a fun and engaging learning experience from 5:30-6:30 p.m. Monday, Sept. 28, on the Bosco Student Plaza. The movie "Stand and Deliver" will be shown following the event in Forum Hall.

More information on Hispanic Heritage Month at K-State is available by contacting Renteria at