SALSA’s Latin Festival celebrates culture

Friends dance together on April 1, 2015 at the Latin Festival held in the Kent State Ballroom. Friends got together to eat food and dance in celebration of their heritage.

Samantha Ickes

Latin music filled the Student Center Ballroom on Wednesday night as the Spanish and Latino Student Association hosted its inaugural Latin Festival. 

Those who attended were able to learn about Latino culture as they visited eight tables represented by different organizations on campus, including Lamda Theta Nu, Inc., Latino Networking Caucus and PRIDE! Kent.

“We have such a small population in the Kent campus that it’s hard for us to effectively show other people what our culture is and who we are,” said event programmer Erin Lafargue. 

Students who attended went to the eight different stations where they got a stamp on their “Latin Passport” to show they attended the stations. Once all eight stations were completed, students were able to try Latino foods including chips with guacamole and salsa, tacos and rice. 

Claudia Ramirez, a senior fashion design major from Venezuela, stood on the side swaying to the music as she watched her peers dance in the center of the ballroom.

“I should be doing my homework, but this is nice,” Ramirez said. “Everyone is enjoying the music.”

Oscar Ramos, director of the Student Multicultural Center and adviser for SALSA, said he encourages the leaders of SALSA to raise awareness and appreciation for what the Latino students on campus have achieved during their time at Kent State. 

Alpha Psi Lambda, the first co-ed Latino interest fraternity, participated in the festival as well to talk to students about the fraternity because many students are unaware the chapter accepts both Latino and non-Latino students.  

“A lot of people don’t realize that there are a lot of Latinos on campus,” president of Alpha Psi Lambda Chavely Hernandez said.

The organizations present at the event aimed to spread awareness of the culture of Latinos and their presence on the campus. 

“Finally — finally a Latino event on campus,” said Ilianna Velez, junior communication studies major. “It’s really exciting to get everybody together. The Latino culture is just so vibrant.”

Contact Samantha Ickes at [email protected].