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April 10, 2024

SVSU student organizes Slavic Heritage Month

Poster with illustrated couple in Slavic costume dancing

Driven by a connection to Slavic cultures, a Saginaw Valley State University student has organized Slavic Heritage Month at the university, with a slate of events throughout April designed to bring awareness to and appreciation of Slavic culture.

Camden Hugo, an international relations major from Munger, has coordinated with SVSU’s Student Association and the Office of Multicultural Student Affairs to establish Slavic Heritage Month, with support from SVSU’s Office of Academic Affairs, Alpha Sigma Pi and SVSU’s Model UN team. Hugo said a travel experience last summer inspired him to undertake this initiative.

“My family’s background is Polish,” Hugo said, “but my deeper connection to Slavic cultures was truly sparked by a trip to Krakow, Poland, and Prague, Czechia, last summer. That experience opened my eyes to the rich tapestry of Slavic heritage, compelling me to dive into the study of languages such as Polish, Russian, Czech and Ukrainian. It’s this newfound love and appreciation for Slavic cultures that drives this initiative.”

Slavic Heritage Month at SVSU kicked off with a “We Stand with Ukraine” fundraiser on April 4 and continues through Friday, April 26. All events are open to the public, and most are free.

Slavic Heritage Month events will provide opportunities to learn more about Slavic heritage and will allow those with Slavic roots to make connections. Events include:

  • Ukrainian Bingo, Wednesday, April 10, 6:30-8:00 p.m. in SVSU’s rotunda.
  • Slavic Food Night, Thursday, April 11, 4:00-8:00 p.m., Marketplace at Doan.
  • We Stand With Ukraine T-shirt sales, Monday, April 15-Friday, April 19, 10:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m., Marketplace at Doan.
  • Russian-Ukrainian War Debrief, Tuesday, April 16, 4:00-5:30 p.m., Gilbertson Hall (GS 127).
  • Polka Dance, Wednesday, April 17, 4:00-5:30 p.m., SVSU’s rotunda.
  • Slavic Culture Lecture, Thursday, April 18, 4:00-5:30 p.m., Gilbertson Hall (GS 127).
  • Slavic Country Study Abroad Presentation, Tuesday, April 23, 3:00-5:00 p.m., Science East (SE 116)
  • “Grip of the USSR” Presentation, Thursday, April 25, 3:00-4:00 p.m., Science East (SE 116)
  • Slavic Movie Night, Friday, April 26, 7:00-8:30 p.m., Curtiss Hall, Thompson Student Activities Room (C 100)

While this is SVSU’s first Slavic Heritage Month, Hugo is hopeful that the tradition will continue.

“We hope this initiative will encourage greater cultural appreciation, understanding and solidarity both within and beyond the university,” he said. “By celebrating our differences and finding common ground, we can create a more inclusive and supportive community.”

For more information about Slavic Heritage Month events, contact Camden Hugo by email,