The UCF Puerto Rico Research Hub (PRRH) is celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month with a slate of activities, including hosting a series of panel discussions on key issues facing the Puerto Rican and larger Hispanic community. During the month, which runs from September 15 – October 15, 2021, expert panelists will share stories and provide critical information about demographics, healthcare and other human services, Hispanics representation in media and art, Hurricane Maria’s impact, federal issues facing Puerto Rico, and more.

“Hispanic Heritage Month is not only a time to celebrate the many contributions of Hispanics and Latin Americans to our community, but also a time to learn and reflect on the issues that affect this diverse and ever-growing sector of the population. I’m glad that UCF recognizes and promotes the celebration of this important month in support of serving its students as a Hispanic Serving Institution,” stated Dr. Fernando I. Rivera, who started PRRH after Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico in September 2017 with support of the College of Sciences and Department of Sociology.

National Hispanic Heritage Month is a time to celebrate the history, cultures, and contributions of American citizens whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central and South America. The observation started in 1968 as Hispanic Heritage Week, and was expanded to a month-long celebration in 1988.

Events kickoff on September 16, 2021 with “Estamos Aqui,” a panel on the Hispanic population in Central Florida, UCF’s Hispanic Serving Institution status, and programs for Latino students among other important topics. UCF Global Perspectives & International Initiatives is supporting PRRH efforts. These events are co-sponsored by the UCF Puerto Rican Student Association, LaFASA, the UCF Global Perspectives & International Initiatives (GPII), and UCF Global.

“I am proud to be part of PRRH’s series of panels which highlight our accomplishments in serving Latino students, vision for how we build on our strengths and issues that impact our community.  The series features diverse experiences and voices among UCF staff, faculty, and administration as well as the surrounding community, which is pivotal to PRRH’s approach and values,” said Zoé Colón, Senior Advisor to PRRH. Colón, who recently joined PRRH, also serves on the leadership team of GPII and has a long record of working with the Hispanic community in New York, Florida, and nationally.

Also, for the first time in the University’s history, UCF will participate in Orlando’s Puerto Rico Day Parade and Festival. Rivera, Colón, and the rest of the PRRH team will be joined by the UCF Puerto Rican Student Association at the parade.

One panel, organized by UCF journalism instructor Katie Coronado, will focus on Hispanic voices in the media and arts. “It’s important to understand the impact of Hispanics/Latinos in media, this includes their challenges and successes in radio, television, digital media and more. It’s also important to understand how they made it there, to help open even more doors in the future,” noted Coronado, who also serves as Special Advisor for Latin American and Global media for GPII.

The UCF Puerto Rico Research Hub is the center of activities dedicated to the study of Puerto Ricans. It was created to investigate, disseminate knowledge and promote creative solutions to pressing issues affecting the Puerto Rican population, its diaspora, and surrounding communities.  Founded on the heels of one of the worst natural disasters in modern history, the PRRH investigates the Puerto Rican population and demographic trends to better inform public policy decisions including housing demands, job creation, health issues, social integration, and education. The PRRH is organized under four pillars: research, student engagement, outreach, and partnerships.  Additionally, PRRH supports Hispanic student excellence in providing a space and resources for affirming scholarly work that Puerto Rican, Hispanic and all students can engage in – providing invaluable student services for America’s largest Hispanic Serving Institution.


For more information, please visit:


Browse HHM events here:

WEEK OF 9/13

Thurs 9/16 – 11:00am-12:30pm
Panel – Estamos Aquí: Discussion on the Hispanic population in the Central Florida region, 2020 Census results, significance of the HSI designation for UCF, current programs supporting Latino students, the importance of investing in Latino student success, and vision for the future.
Location: Virtual

Sat. 9/18 – 9:00am-5:00pm
Event – PR Day Parade & Festival: UCF Puerto Rican Student Association and Puerto Rico Research Hub walk the Puerto Rican Day Parade and Festival
Location: Downtown Orlando

WEEK OF 9/20

Wed. 9/22 – 11:00am-12:30pm
Panel – Four years After Hurricane Maria: How Climate Change Impacts Latinos: Discussion on climate change, climate migration trends, and what various Latino led groups are doing in this space.
Location: Virtual

Thurs. 9/23 – 6:30pm-9:00pm
Event – Latinx Film Festival: Los Extra Terrestres by Carla Cavina. In Spanish/English subtitles. Trailer:
Location: VAB 132 (Visual Arts Bldg, Auditorium)


WEEK OF 9/27

Mon 9/27 – 12:00pm-1:00pm
Panel – Latinos in the Media/Arts: Discussion highlighting accomplishments of Latinos and the importance of these sectors, etc.
Location: Virtual

Fri. 10/1 – 1:00pm-2:30pm
Panel – The History and Implications of Latino Population Boom In partnership with Alianza Center: Discussion on the Latino demographic changes and implications.  Two authors discuss their most recent published books.
Location: Virtual

WEEK OF 10/4

Tues, 10/5 – 11:00am-12:30pm
Panel – Federal Issues and Legal Disputes Impacting Puerto Rico: Discussion on past and current litigation regarding social benefits programs for Puerto Rico including Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Medicaid. Panelists will discuss how legal decisions and federal issues affect access to these programs and other rights for the people of Puerto Rico.
Location: Virtual


WEEK OF 10/11

Tues 10/12 – 3:00-4:30pm
Panel – Diverse Student Voices: Personal reflections around diversity, identity, immigration and migration experience.
Location: Virtual

Thurs 10/14 – 12:00pm-1:30pm
Panel – Mujeres de la Diaspora Puertorriqueña: Authors across generations share how their identities have inspired their work.
Location: Virtual 

Registration for all events is required:

Posted September 10, 2021