UCF Global Celebrates Hispanic Heritage Year Round
One of the first celebrations of diversity of the academic year at UCF is Hispanic Heritage Month (HHM), observed nationally from September 15 through October 15. The pan ethnic terms Latino and Hispanic (often used interchangeably) represent a rich plethora of cultural practices, beliefs and histories that are as much varied as they are similar. HHM serves as a vehicle to inform the broader community about our history, culture, and contributions to the United States. This month-long observance of our diverse culture is also an opportunity to think critically about internal issues such as colorism, gender bias, political agendas, as well as our sociopolitical relations with mainstream America and other groups. As one of the fastest growing “minority” groups, second to Asians in the nation, but first in states such as Florida, Latinos will continue to influence, and in many cases, transform the fabric of our nation.
As a federally designated Hispanic Serving Institute (HSI), UCF is also charged with effectively serving this student population and we have made great strides to this end. UCF Global prides itself in working with international students and the expansion of programs targeting Latinos and other immigrants across Central Florida in recent years. We thought you would join us in celebrating our own wins in serving the Hispanic / Latino population and have highlighted them here. Vamos Knights!
- The Community English Program (CEP) continues to offer low cost and free English language instruction via virtual and in person classes to adult learners in Central Florida. We have reached over 1,000 community members since 2020, most of whom identify as Hispanic. Global just received a major grant from the Truist Foundation to expand CEP and other upskilling programs under our Latinos y Amigos Center for Advancement and Student Achievement (LA CASA) initiative, aimed at serving immigrants in the region.
- Our international student population is now predominantly from the Latin American and Caribbean regions of the globe, with Venezuela, Colombia, and Mexico leading as sending countries. We work closely with the local Mexican and Colombian Consulates to help strengthen ties to those communities, among others. We also offer the Latin American and Caribbean (LAC) Scholarship for international students, serving over 727 students and totaling $328,500.
- Global is also home to the Puerto Rico Research Hub, which is dedicated to the study of Puerto Ricans, and their migration patterns to and from the island. Florida is now home to the largest diaspora with a population of over 1.2 million. The Hub is currently a finalist for a major Congressional Appropriations grant to engage more Latino and other underrepresented student groups at UCF in research.
- We partner closely with the Latino Faculty and Staff Association (LaFASA) and Conexiones, among others, to coordinate support for our students and their families, and host events such as Family Weekend and Spanish language presentations at parent orientations.
- Global hosts UCF’s International Education Week, highlighting our diversity through events including discussions on global issues and vibrant displays of our Latin American and Caribbean culture at the annual fair in November.
For more information, please visit our Community Initiatives landing page.