Events at University Campus Explore Many Cultures

October 30, 2014

Multiple events at University Campus continue to reflect Saint Leo University’s commitment to providing students with the capacity to think globally, and the opportunity to enjoy engaging in a variety of cultures.

Dr. Katharine Donato, chair of sociology at Vanderbilt University, visited University Campus on October 27 and spoke on “Understanding Immigration and Its Effects” as part of the Current Events and Speaker Series sponsored by the Department of Social Sciences. Dr. Donato (pictured) focused in particular on research on immigration to the United States from Mexico. About 30 percent of individuals in the United States who were born in other nations are from Mexico, she said, though the public perception is often that the proportion is higher.

More suburban communities in the United States are now home to individuals born elsewhere than in previous decades, and the Southeast has seen dramatic growth, she said. Most immigrants present in the United States are legally authorized to be in the United States, Dr. Donato explained.

Research specifically on Mexican migration shows that the economic contributions of both legally authorized and unauthorized Mexican migrants have continued to rise, she said. At the same time, more restrictive law enforcement policies have had the practical effects of discouraging people from wanting to participate visibly in their local economies for fear of being stopped and confronted, she said. Dr. Donato said, as an educator, she advises her students who are foreign-born to always carry formal identification with them, and two forms, if possible.

Dr. Donato also spoke to some social sciences classes that met on campus this week, including Dr. Patricia Campion’s class on globalization (pictured), during which Dr. Donato outlined the current complex immigration process.

On another note, the student Spanish Club presented its own Day of the Dead exhibit October 28, a bit ahead of the typical celebration between October 31 and November. The holiday is celebrated in Mexico and other countries with Hispanic populations to honor and remember in a festive way relatives who have passed away. The memories of the deceased are honored with favorite foods, often sweet, candles, and colorful altars or displays.

The club is advised by Dr. Marcela Van Olphen, associate professor of Spanish and Portuguese (shown delivering cakes).

In November, University Campus will observe International Education Week with two events sponsored by the Intercultural Student Association:

  • An information panel on study abroad opportunities, at 7 p.m., Tuesday, November 18, in Selby Auditorium of Lewis Hall
  • A Feast for the World food event featuring samplings of cuisines from all around the globe, at 7 p.m., Wednesday, November 19, outside the Student Community Center

For more information on either of the November events, contact Paige Ramsey-Hamacher, director of multicultural and international services, at (352) 588-8489 or