IU's La Casa celebrating National Hispanic Heritage Month with variety of events

  • Sept. 14, 2015


BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- La Casa, the Indiana University Latino Cultural Center, is celebrating National Hispanic Heritage Month with a full calendar of events on the IU campus and Bloomington community.

The celebration kicks off Sept. 15 with a reception at the Mathers Museum of World Cultures. The free event takes place from 4 to 6 p.m. and is open to the public.

Other events includes a roundtable discussion, "The Politics of Gender and Sexuality," on Sept. 25; Fiesta del Otono on Sept. 26 at the Bloomington Farmer’s Market; and "Politics, Promises and Possibilities," a symposium on the 50th anniversary of the 1965 Immigration and Naturalization Act taking place Oct. 15.

“We are so excited to be hosting a number of educational and fun activities during National Hispanic Heritage Month,” said Lillian Casillas, director of La Casa, which is part of IU's Office of the Vice President for Diversity, Equity and Multicultural Affairs.

The celebration comes on the heels of significant growth in the Latino student population on the IU Bloomington campus. This year’s entering first-year Hispanic/Latino student population is the largest in the campus’s history at 7 percent. This year also marked the first year that the percentage of Hispanic/Latino students in an incoming class at IU is greater than the percentage of Hispanics/Latinos in the state’s population.

“It is good to see the growth of Latinos in this country and state reflected in the growth of our student population,” Casillas said.

Latinos' contributions on campus date back to 1910 when Lucio "Lucius" Rivera was the first Latino to earn a degree from IU. The Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies was founded in 1963, originally as the Latin American Studies Program, and James Scobie was its first director.

In 1973, the Office of Latino Affairs was founded to help serve the academic, social and cultural needs of Latino students. In the summer of that year, Horacio Lewis donated a house on South Park Avenue, creating the first Latino Cultural Center. In 1976, La Casa would move to its current location on Seventh Street.

When it was established, La Casa was one of the first centers of its kind in the state and today is one of two such centers in Indiana. The center services about 12,000 faculty, students, staff and community members. 

“The work being done at IU is recognized as a model for the Midwest,” Casillas said. “We are called upon to address or respond to issues related to Latinos in higher education across the state, and La Casa continues to serve as a home away from home for Latina and Latino students, faculty and staff.”

More information on this year’s National Hispanic Heritage Month celebration and other La Casa events is available online. 

Lillian Casillas

Lillian Casillas

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April Toler

IU Communications

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