March 2023 Heritage Celebrations

The Office for Diversity and Inclusion and the Provost’s Office would like to remind you of several celebrations, commemorations, and moments of raising awareness for members of our community during the month of March:

Heritage Month Celebrations:

Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month (March): The United States has observed Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month every March since 1987. Led by the National Association of Councils on Developmental Disabilities (NACDD), this month raises awareness about people who have disabilities that cause an impairment in language, learning, physical body, or behavior. Specifically, this campaign seeks to raise awareness about the difficulties people with disabilities face and the importance of including people with developmental disabilities in all facets of community life.

UConn seeks to ensure that people with disabilities have the same access to programs, opportunities, and activities as all others. The University does this, in part, through the Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities, Education, Research, and Service (UCEDD), which is part of the nationwide Developmental Disabilities Network. UConn also supports neurodiversity through Neurodiversity at UConn and the Center for Neurodiversity and Employee Innovation.

In addition, UConn supports access through the Center for Students with Disabilities (CSD), which offers a variety of programs and services for students with disabilities, including at UConn Health. CSD utilizes MyAccess, which allows students to more easily request accommodations and facilitates faculty and staff efforts to meet those accommodations. Faculty and staff can request OIE’s training to increase awareness and understanding of disability access and responsibilities at UConn. UConn seeks to ensure that staff and faculty with disabilities are afforded reasonable accommodations through OIE, the Human Resources department, and UConn Health’s Human Resources. UConn also offers a Certificate of Interdisciplinary Disability Studies in Public Health.

Greek American Heritage Month (March): Also known as Hellenic Heritage Month, Greek American Heritage Month takes place in March to coincide with Greek Independence Day on March 25th. This day celebrates the contributions of Greeks and Greek Americans, and honors Greek language and culture.

Irish American Heritage Month (March): Irish American Heritage Month honors the achievements of Irish immigrants and their descendants in the United States. First celebrated in 1991, it is accompanied by a proclamation from the President of the United States. Irish American Heritage Month is held in March to coincide with St. Patrick’s Day.

Women’s History Month (March): Thanks to the efforts of the National Women’s History Alliance, March is recognized as Women’s History Month. First Celebrated as Women’s History week in 1981, Congress expanded the celebration in 1987 to celebrate the contributions women have made to the United States and to recognize specific achievements women have made throughout American history. The theme for 2023’s Women’s History Month is “Celebrating Women Who Tell Our Stories.” This theme honors women in every community who are devoted to producing art, pursuing truth, and reflecting on the human condition. At UConn, we celebrate women’s history every month of the year, especially through the Women’s Center and the Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies (WGSS) Program.

For Women’s History Month 2023, ODI and the Provost’s Office are excited to offer “Transformation Now!” This course provides a brief, detailed historical account of gender, the language that has shaped gender, the laws that have defined gender, and the various transnational revolutions that have taken place to redefine gender altogether. This pop-up course will run from March 6 to April 28 for graduate and undergraduate students; faculty and staff dates are TBD. Students are able to enroll through March 12.

Cultural and Federal Holidays:

International Women’s Day (March 8th): International Women’s Day is a global holiday celebrating Women’s rights. It celebrates women’s achievements, recognizes the challenges women face, and brings attention to ongoing issues related to gender equity, reproductive rights, and violence and abuse faced by women. The theme for 2023’s International Women’s Day is #EmbraceEquity, which recognizes that giving groups the same opportunities and resources is not enough, but that exact resources need to be allocated to help individuals achieve equal outcomes. This campaign recognizes that some groups face greater challenges and need greater resources in order to succeed.

Nowruz | Iranian New Year | Person New Year (March 20th – March 21st) Nowruz celebrates the beginning of the new year on the Iranian Solar Hijri calendar. It begins on the spring equinox (usually on or around March 20th), which marks the start of spring in the Northern Hemisphere. Nowruz has been a day of great celebration throughout Iranian history; it is mankind’s oldest known holiday and is still celebrated by more than 300 million people around the world. It celebrates the triumph of hope over despair and promotes values of peace and solidarity between generations and within families. This year, the Middle Eastern Cultural Programs (MECP) invite you to join our Nowruz celebration on Monday, March 20th, from 7:30 to 10:00 PM in the ODI Commons (Student Union room 103). Space is limited, so please RSVP.

St. Patrick’s Day (March 17th): This cultural and religious holiday is held annually on the traditional death date of St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland. St. Patrick’s Day has been celebrated in Ireland for a thousand years but has been celebrated by American parades since 1737. The largest St. Patrick’s Day Parade is held in New York each year.

Religious Holidays:

Lent (February 22nd – April 6th in Western Churches, February 27th – April 15th in Eastern Orthodox Churches): In Christianity, Lent is a liturgical season prior to Easter. Though mostly associated with Catholics, Lent is celebrated by members of Protestant and Eastern Orthodox Churches. Generally, Lent is a season of reflection and preparation celebrating Jesus Christ’s resurrection from the dead.

Purim (March 6th-7th): Purim is a joyous and merry holiday that celebrates the strength, resilience, and survival of the Jewish people. Specifically, it commemorates the deliverance of Jews in ancient Persia from a planned act of genocide ordered by the Persian king’s Prime Minister, a plot that was foiled by Queen Esther. The major theme of this holiday is overcoming baseless hatred against the Jewish people. Traditional celebrations include reading Megillat Esther (the Book of Esther); sending gifts of food to family; giving tzedakah (charity); enjoying a festive meal; and wearing costumes. Hillel will host a make-your-own Purim basket event on Tuesday, March 7th, from 11:00 AM to 4:00 PM.

Holi (March 8th): Holi is a Hindu festival celebrating the end of winter and the triumph of love over evil. Originating in India and Nepal, Holi is celebrated globally. Also known as the “Festival of Colors,” the “Festival of Love” and the “Festival of New Beginnings,” Holi is seen as a new beginning. It is typically celebrated with two days of festivals. The first consists of a bonfire to symbolically burn away all the bad and the second consists of throwing powder dye into the air, covering all in attendance with vibrant colors. At Storrs, the Indian Student Association will be hosting Holi on the CLAS quad with color and games on 4/8. The rain date for this event will be 4/15.

Ramadan (March 22nd – April 21st): A holy month for Muslims that is used for spiritual reflection and growth, for helping those in need, and spending time with loved ones. Ramadan is a moveable holiday, beginning and ending with the crescent moon during the ninth month of the Islamic calendar. Muslims around the world typically observe a fast during daylight hours. UConn Dining will have specially prepared meals and will set up a station for students to collect those meals after sundown. Both South and Towers Dining Halls will be open late for Iftar. The Asian American Cultural Center (AsACC) will hold an Eid celebration. Members of the UConn Health community can participate in Friday prayers at Interfaith Murray-Heilig Chapel, located on the M-level in University Tower at John Dempsey Hospital. Check out these UConn student-made videos (Storrs| Hartford) about to best support Muslim students during Ramadan.

We welcome the celebration of each of these holidays on our campuses and encourage support for those requiring accommodations. You can find information and guidance about academic accommodations for religious observations on the Provost Office’s webpage.

To see more information about resources and events happening this month and throughout the semester, please visit our events page at

ODI writes these letters in collaboration with our partners across the UConn system. If we inadvertently omitted a cultural or religious holiday, please let us know by emailing us at


Frank, Anne, and Jeff

Frank Tuitt
Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer

Anne D’Alleva
Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs

Jeffrey F. Hines, MD
Associate Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer, UConn Health