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Fiesta Latina: Sharing the Diversity of the Latin Culture

(Posted April 25, 2013)

Performers at Fiesta Latina

Saturday night the Spanish club hosted Fiesta Latina, a yearly event full of savory ethnic foods, music and good friends with the purpose of sharing the Latin American culture with Juniata students and staff. Spanish club members spend a lot of their time in the spring semester organizing for this event and preparing the food. This year's Fiesta Latina featured two musical groups. A side ensemble of Juniata students and staff performed a traditional Argentinian dance and song. The fiesta began with a very witty and informative video created by one of the Spanish club members and emphasized the diversity of the Latin culture and depicted some stereotypes that often are used to represent Latino culture.

Clay Cooper '13 Hummelstown, Pa.:
I've been in Spanish club since my freshman year. I am an Eagles Abroad fellow for Spanish, so being in the club is a requirement, but Spanish club has been a bigger part of my Juniata experience than I could have foreseen. Fiesta Latina is a way to show people the diversity of Latin America through dance, music and food. We sell out every year and we'd like the event to be bigger. It's a lot of work to prepare the food, but it's totally worth it.

Jordan Holsinger '13 Overland Park, Kan.:
I got involved in Spanish club my freshman year. I've studied Spanish since middle school, so I came in to Juniata knowing I wanted to be involved. Junior year I studied abroad in Quito, Ecuador. My title in the Spanish club is the event coordinator. Part of my duties were to make an introductory video to set the mood and to inform the audience a little bit about the Latino culture. I wanted to address that Latin American is a very diverse place and I think sometimes we pigeonhole it through stereotypes.

Becca Swaintek '13 Alburtis, Pa.:
I'm president of the Spanish club and I was mainly in charge of decorating for the event. I also cooked the Tortilla Española which is a potato dish from Spain. We take all semester to plan for Fiesta Latina. It's a way for us to bring Hispanic culture to campus. We usually try to focus on a specific country or region every year. This year we brought in Andean music.

Laura Sanchez Cordoba, Argentina:
I am a visiting Spanish language instructor and I am from Argentina. I participate in the Spanish club and Fiesta Latina because it is an opportunity for me to share my culture, food and music. I got a chance to dance and prepare food. I brought Maté, which is a traditional Argentinian beverage. It's special because you always drink it with your friends from the same straw. So really, it's an excuse to get together. It symbolizes sharing with friends.

Jennifer Arbella '14 Miami, Fla:
I'm Hispanic. My mother is from Honduras and my dad is Cuban. For Fiesta Latina, I helped make 120 Flan. Everyone has their own variation of Flan, but my recipe is Cuban. It was a very long process that took from 1p.m. to midnight. I live in the Spanish house and everyone contributed to the effort and helped me make them. I love living in the Spanish house because it is there that I can speak the most Spanish. I'm just a member of the Spanish club, but I like to contribute when I can.

Hannah Jeffery '16, Juniata Online Journalist

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Contact John Wall at wallj@juniata.edu or (814) 641-3132 for more information.