HOLYOKE, Mass. (WWLP) – Holyoke Community Community (HCC) celebrated Hispanic Heritage Month on Wednesday with a Latinx fiesta.

The Campus Center at HCC was bustling Wednesday, students and staff moving from table to table, talking and learning about different Hispanic cultures at a Latinx fiesta in honor of Hispanic heritage month. It’s important for a college like HCC to recognize its Hispanic population, as the college has received a special designation.

“HCC is what’s called a HSI which is a federal designation for Hispanic serving institution. what that means is at least 25 percent of our student body identifies as Hispanic or Latinx. currently that number sits at 28 percent which is a really good reflection of Holyoke specifically as a city because there is a large Latino population here,” said Academic Counselor Shannon Sarkisian, Co-chair of the Hispanic Leadership Committee.

Tables were set up throughout the center, offering information and food. The college has been hosting this celebration since 2010 and allows anyone to host a table; students, staff or faculty. From September 15 to October 15, Hispanic Heritage Month celebrates the contributions of Americans who ancestors hail from Mexico, Spain, the Caribbean, Central America and South America.

“Not every Spanish speaking person is exactly the same. We share the language but we don’t always share the same cultural foods and things. It’s really nice to be able to share food and break bread with people of different cultures that I share a language with,” said Alannah Brunt, a student.

Since it’s inception more than 10 years ago, the Latinx fiesta has grown in size and scope, with more students participating year after year.