Johana Vazquez Advertising Manager
Every year the Organization for Latin American Students (O.L.A.S.) puts on an event called Latin Fest to celebrate Latinx culture at Eastern an. This year the event took place on Oct. 24, in the Student Center. The event showcased different Latinx countries with food, displayed information about them, activities, and traditional dances. The event served as a space to allow the Latinx community to be proud of who they are.
“Latin Fest means showing our authentic culture from various parts of the world, from South America, to the Caribbean, to Central America. It’s a way to teach others more about what being Latinx means to us,” said Yoshua Gonzaga, the Vice-President of O.L.A.S.
The nine countries represented were: Peru, Dominican Republic, Honduras, El Salvador, Mexico, Ecuador, Argentina, Venezuela, and Colombia. Each country had a table garnished in its national colors with flags, decorations, and poster boards informing the crowd. O.L.A.S. members were stationed at the tables talking to the crowd and serving them food. There were empanadas from Ecuador, tamales from Mexico, and ceviche from Peru, while Latin music played in the background.
Every year there is a great turnout, and this year was no exception. “It’s a really big event so it attracts a lot of people,” said Nour Kalbouneh, a non-Latinx student who attended the event. The attendees were handed “passports” to walk around to each table and answer a question about every country, receiving a stamp of travel. Those who completed the passports were handed a raffle ticket for a chance to win a prize at the end of the event.
Although the event was a success overall, there was an underlying sentiment about the food. “I think Latin Fest this year was amazing,” said Gonzaga, “The food was a little disappointing since many of the people native to these countries showed a bit disapproval that we couldn’t give out authentic food.” The organization was not allowed to purchase authentically made food outside of Chartwells as they have done in the past years. “There are a lot of Hispanic/Latino students on campus who are away from home,” said Kalbouneh, “This is a night that allows them to get a taste of home and that wasn’t fulfilled this year.”
Other student organizations were also involved in the event. The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (N.A.A.C.P) had a table at Latin Fest in collaboration with O.L.A.S. They were there to inform attendees of their organization and show their support for the event.
Latinx Sensation, Eastern’s student-lead Latinx dance club, gave three performances at the event to show different styles of Latinx dancing: traditional Mexican Jarabe Tapatío, Bachata, and Reggaeton. Yessi Lopez, the public relationist for Latinx Sensation, danced the Mexican Jarabe Tapatío solo wearing a traditional Mexican dress. “It is an honor to be part of an event that celebrates our culture. We love being able to perform at events like these,” said Lopez. The event ended after Latinx Sensation made their final performance and the dance floor was opened to everyone.