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Communication professor organizes JSU’s first independent Hispanic Health Fair


After the homecoming parade is over on Saturday morning, follow the flags of the International Student Organization to JSU’s first independent Hispanic Health Fair.

The fair will be held on the second floor of Wallace Hall after the parade.

There is no charge for admission and all ethnicities are welcome.

Spanish-speaking representatives of the Calhoun County Health Department will be present.

Sarrell Dental and Eye Centers will provide free eye exams and information on dental hygiene.

“We’ll have at least two traditional Hispanic food dishes, and pizza,” says Dr. Jeffery Hedrick, Associate Professor of Communication at JSU and organizer of the fair. Beverages will be provided by JSU.

There will be a drawing for five pairs of tickets to JSU’s homecoming game, donated by the Athletic Department. Each person who visits the health fair will be entered in the drawing, and could also win Papa John’s pizza coupons.

Jenniffer Whyte, a licensed Zumba instructor and member of the Fitness Club, will also be present to demonstrate several Zumba workouts.

Dr. Hedrick says he’s organizing the fair for two reasons: one, Hispanic Heritage Month takes place partly in October. Beginning September 15 and continuing until the 15th of this month, Hispanic Heritage Month is an opportunity to celebrate the cultures and contributions of American citizens with Latino ancestry.

The second reason is that the Calhoun County Hispanic American Association, which typically hosts the fair, was dissolved in 2012.

“Last year’s health fair at Oxford Lake was the last event the association held,” says Hedrick.

He served as Vice President and event coordinator for the organization before its President, Gladys Denizard, stepped down due to illness.

“All of the paperwork was in her name,” says Hedrick. When she resigned and no one stepped up to re-file that paperwork, the CCHAA ceased to exist.

Students often ask Dr. Hedrick why he took it upon himself to organize a Hispanic health fair at JSU. He says he wants to continue the work that the CCHAA was doing.

“I got involved with the organization after meeting all kinds of nice people in it,” he says. He would re-organize the CCHAA if it weren’t for the fact that he isn’t Hispanic himself.

“I just think someone who is Hispanic should be over it,” he says.

Dr. Hedrick hopes that the health fair will become “an exciting new tradition of Hispanic Heritage Month at JSU.”

Other cities across the country also organize fairs and festivals celebrating Latino culture during Hispanic Heritage Month. More than 10,000 people attended Birmingham’s annual “Fiesta” event held last Saturday.

The Hispanic Health Fair is one of three events celebrating Hispanic culture at JSU. The SGA and ISO partnered to organize a Latin dance party on September 16, the day after Hispanic Heritage Month began.

JSU’s Department of History and Foreign Languages is currently hosting a Spanish and Latin American film festival during the month of October. Each Thursday until the 29th, a newly-released Spanish film is screened in the Wallace Hall auditorium.

Afterward, a group discussion of the movie’s theme and impact takes place. JSU’s Spanish Club, sponsored by Dr. Eduardo Pacheco, will be present at each screening.

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