On Nov. 1, the Latin American Student Association (LASA) combined two social affairs into a single event: a Latin Dance Night and a multicultural marketplace. The diversity extravaganza served as a bridge to connect students, emphasizing heritage appreciation and showcasing a variety of cultures.
“The idea of combining a Latin dance with a multicultural fair was created last year as a way to bring a charitable element to a bi-annual event. We had received many suggestions to hold a Latin dance on campus, and as an activist club we decided that using a fun, social event to bring awareness to various causes would be the best plan of action,“ LASA Event Coordinator Renee Fonseca ‘15 said.
The event was a beautiful exchange of fun and culture. – Armando Santin ’16
LASA, along with assistance from OMA, hosted an event to serve as an eye-opening and thrilling swap of culture- an affair of acquiring knowledge while having fun in the process.
“Latin Night is an event meant to bring together students and give them a chance to experience a culture different than their own, or to reconnect with their heritage by mingling and dancing with friends, “ Fonseca said.
Sponsors included the Youth and Young Adult Network of the National Farm Worker Ministry (YAYA), Ten Thousand Villages and Bajalia. YAYA is a youth network aimed at acquiring justice for farm workers. Ten Thousand Villages creates opportunities for artisans in developing countries to earn income by bringing their products and stories to the market place. Bajalia captures cultural heritage by selling authentic handmade products, which support living wages and non-exploitive working conditions in the developing world.
These organizations participated in the multicultural marketplace, selling merchandise ranging from t-shirts to handmade jewelry and woven bags. While the overall event focused on Latin America, items from other parts of the globe like India and Thailand were also featured within the market.
Within this mini-marketplace, each sponsor hosted a booth in the Galloway room for students to not only shop for products, but to also converse with vendors and learn the goals of individual charities.
Describing the event as a cultural melting pot, LASA Treasurer Armando Santin ‘16 feels the affair was both enjoyable and didactic. Through discussing the cohesive blend of the marketplace with the event’s diverse attendees, Santin feels the element of Latin dancing was the highlight of the evening.
“What I enjoyed most about the event was the dancing. We played so many genres of Latin music. Those who were apprehensive about dancing were open to learn. The event was a beautiful exchange of fun and culture, “ Santin said.
With Santin, the combination of ranging dance genres and a diverse marketplace created a fondue of culture and an unforgettable event that enriched the campus. Since his first experience with Latin Dance Night exceeded his expectations, Santin urges the student body to attend future LASA sponsored affairs and other cultural events.
“Never be afraid of anything out there. Just go out and learn about it. Whether it is Latin night or another cultural activity, there is nothing wrong with learning about another corner of the world,” Santin said.
Currently, LASA is partnering with Sodexo for an upcoming event occurring later this semester. For those interested in taking part next term, the club will be participating in Martin Luther King Jr. week and organizing another Latin Dance Night in the coming year.