EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WEHT)- Hispanic Heritage Month is here- bringing celebrations of Hispanic art, culture, and music across the Tri-State, including the La Vida Exhibit at the Southwest Indiana Arts Council.

Artist Fernando Lozano says the monthlong commemoration helps him embrace both his background in Mexico and his current life with his family in the United States. Lozano adds that it’s “amazing” to see the country celebrate backgrounds like his own, noting that the county has the ability to recognize that they are both humans and earthlings, parts of the same nation.

For Ivy Tech Evansville Chancellor Daniela Vidal, the campus’ first Hispanic and woman chancellor, observing Hispanic Heritage Month means fighting for change- expanding access to higher education for Hispanic and Latino students.

Vidal says some students, especially first-generation Americans, may not think college is on the horizon. Vidal says the month, along with programs launched by Ivy Tech, are helping to change that notion and help open more doors for students.

With more Hispanic and Latino families moving to the Tri-State, including immigrants moving from Vidal’s own home country of Venezuela, Vidal says the need for colleges and universities to provide more services to make the collegiate experience better for students is greater than ever.

In addition to the Hola Dream Big scholarship that provides funds for students who otherwise may not be eligible for financial aid, Vidal says Ivy Tech has launched more English classes and brought in bilingual resources to remove some of the barriers faced by students.

Vidal says her role as Chancellor helps show students that “the opportunities are there for anyone who wants to take that step forward and take things on,” a message Vidal adds, resonates year-round.