Carnegie Mellon University
August 28, 2013

Media Advisory: Carnegie Mellon To Hold Welcome Event for Latino and Hispanic Students

Contact: Shilo Rea / 412-268-6094 /

Event: Carnegie Mellon University will hold a welcome event for new Latino and Hispanic students to connect them with faculty and other students as well as campus and Pittsburgh-area programs that serve the Latino and Hispanic communities. "Welcome Amigos: CMU and the Latin/Hispanic Community" will feature cultural events such as dance and music lessons, games and activities for children and information on community-based programs that are looking for active student volunteers.

"Latino student organizations and Hispanic students have shared how it is difficult to find ways to connect with others who have similar cultural and linguistic backgrounds on campus," said Mariana Achugar, associate professor of Hispanic Studies and Second Language Acquisition in the Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences' Department of Modern Languages. "It is also difficult for those coming from larger cities with a stronger Hispanic presence to move to Pittsburgh, where there is not a large number of this population nor a clear geographic location where they can find it."

Achugar continued,  "This is not just the case for those students of Latino/Hispanic heritage, but also for those who have studied abroad or established close connections with the culture(s) and want to continue developing that multicultural facet of their identity. This event will give students an opportunity to know there are others interested in maintaining a cultural connection with Latino/Hispanic cultures through the arts, food or even more specific projects such as service learning with this community."

One program that will be featured at the welcome event is El Circulo Juvenil de Cultura, which uses arts and technology to keep Latino children speaking Spanish and is run by the Department of Modern Languages.

"The Latino population is the only ethnic population in Pittsburgh that is growing," said Kenya Dworkin, associate professor of Hispanic Studies, who leads the program with Achugar and Felipe Gomez. "Our goal is to help children from multi-lingual households understand that Spanish is a valid part of their identity."

The family-friendly event is sponsored by El Circulo Juvenil de Cultura, the Department of Modern Languages' Hispanic Outreach Program and the Office of Student Affairs' Multicultural Initiatives Program.

When: 2-5 p.m., Sunday, Sept. 8

Where: College of Fine Arts Lawn, Carnegie Mellon University

Cost: Free and open to the public