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Elon University S.M.A.R.T. Mentoring Program builds community for Hispanic and Latinx students on campus. Courtesy of John Robinson-Miller IX.

 Karen Cruz-Ruiz grew up surrounded by people of color at school. Her school system was minority majority, and she had never known anything different. That is — until she came to Elon.

Attending a predominantly white institution like Elon was a difficult transition for Cruz-Ruiz. But one thing that helped make the challenge a little easier was the sense of community she felt from the Odyssey Program and through her S.M.A.R.T. mentor, Joyce Llopis-Martell.

Alamance County to host first annual Hispanic Heritage Month Festival

Hispanic Heritage Month kickoff in Medallion Plaza on September 15, 2021. Addison Bucco

This weekend, Lore Meca Lara will bring her children to Alamance Art in downtown Graham, to remind them of their heritage and to help them celebrate their culture as Mexican Americans. She hopes many Hispanic community members bring their families to Graham this weekend, too, to attend Alamance County’s first annual Hispanic Heritage Month Festival on Sept. 25.

Elon University faculty panel addresses the aftermath of 9/11, 20 years later

Chiefs fans honored those lost on 9/11 during an NFL game between the Kansas City and the Buffalo Bills. The Bills defeated the Chiefs, 41-7, at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri, on Sunday, September 11, 2011. (Mike Ransdell/Kansas City Star/MCT)

Jason Kirk was a graduate student in Pennsylvania about to walk into a classroom to teach students about international politics. Over 1,800 miles away in Texas, Safia Swimelar was about to teach an American politics course. Sandy Marshall was getting ready to travel to Belfast, Northern Ireland, where he would study politics with an emphasis on peace and conflict resolution. 

These three individuals, now Elon University professors, can answer the question, “Where were you on 9/11?” with the certainty that comes with living through a pivotal, historical event. But 20 years later, many of their students are unable to, and the legacies of 9/11 encompass more than the commonly asked question.