Ofrendas Workshop Celebrates Día de Los Muertos

October 19, 2022

  • Collaborative ofrendas constructed across campus as a way to build community, honor loved ones, and celebrate the gift of life.
  • “What makes the things that we do particularly RCAH is that they are centered on building community. They’re centered on learning; learning history, learning and sharing stories, and growing together through artistic practice.”

By Maren Case ’24

As part of the university-wide observance of Día de Los Muertos, gatherings across campus last week celebrated the holiday by creating community ofrendas– altars honoring passed loved ones– while breaking bread together and learning more about cultural traditions. RCAH sponsored an ofrendas workshop, led by RCAH faculty members Estrella Torrez and Guillermo Delgado. 

When asked about her perspective on the events within the College and across the University, Torrez began, “Well, it’s exciting to be a part of a campus-wide initiative to have coordinated events around a single celebration. In the past, different units across the campus have done their own thing,” she said. “It's nice to be working in community with folks across campus who are interested in making sure that our events aren’t overlapping and that we’re encouraging folks to go to each other’s events!”

In a time when everyone seems to be peeking out behind the curtain of isolation, engaging with community members in-person can be a challenge. “I think what is sort of at the heart of all these things is building community in a time when I feel like people are very disconnected from one another,” Torrez added. “Día de Los Muertos isn’t about mourning the dead or mourning those that have passed—it’s about celebrating life and celebrating community.” 

Though these events are open to the general public, their signature manifestation of what is important to the College shines through. “They’re centered on community building, learning language and culture, and involving arts,” said Torrez. “I think those are things that RCAH does really well, to build community around many things." 

The Día de Los Muertos celebrations provided by RCAH and other campus organizations are powerful reminders to honor life, and are an active cultivation of spaces to respect cultural traditions within the University community.  

If you have any questions, please contact Estrella Torrez


The Residential College in the Arts and Humanities (RCAH) is a beacon among Michigan State University’s heralded learning communities, named best in the nation among public schools by U.S. News & World Report for four consecutive years. RCAH’s unique “living-learning" community offers the advantages of a small-college, liberal arts education with all the opportunities of a major Big Ten university. RCAH students hone the key skills that are most in demand by employers today by examining critical issues through the lens of culture, visual and performing arts, literature, community engagement, social justice, history, writing, and philosophy. RCAH graduates’ 99 percent placement rate into careers or graduate school is the best at MSU. Find out why: Visit rcah.msu.edu, email rcah@msu.edu, or call 517-355-0210. 

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