Fiesta Latina

Perry Willig, Staff Writer and Artist, Kvasir Contributor

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JC’s Spanish Club hosted Fiesta Latina last Saturday, on the 2nd of February. I DJ’ed the event, as invited by the club’s Vice President, Emily McGrath. The setting was fun, and the food was delicious, making for an enjoyable evening. There were many paper flowers and banners that hung from the walls, which added color to the event. In between eating, talking to the attendees, and taking song requests, I pondered why these types of events are held. This is my second international dinner event that I have gone to, the other one being Southeast Asian dinner. Unlike Polly Walker’s talk on missing women and girls in Indigenous communities, there is no clear political goal to these types of events other than a good time. But there was a point to the gathering, of course. I have determined that it is to add one of our main aims as a college: diversity. Juniata students have had many discussions and arguments with administration about diversity on campus.

No matter your opinion on the subject though, one must agree that diversity is created from these events. This is still a small institution in rural Pennsylvania, so the attendance was largely white, but this did not matter so much in the scheme of an event that aimed to bring diversity to us. People who came to Fiesta Latina didn’t have to do anything except enjoy one another’s company, for they were getting as authentic a Spanish experience as the club could provide. Through putting on original Spanish music, making authentic food, placing menus, working with international students who have lived in Spanish-speaking countries, and decorating the space, Spanish Club sought to turn the Stone Church into a place you might see in a Spanish speaking country.

Diversity was also created in another way. The club worked with teachers to make this event happen, and the event itself was attended by several professors including Henry Thurston-Griswald, Amy Franz-Yodier, and Emil Nagengast. There were also other members of the older community, and I believe members of the Huntingdon community. Though most people think of racial and gender inclusivity when they think of diversity, it is also important to have diversity in age groups and professions as well. When professors go to these events they have dialogues with students in an informal setting, allowing for topics to be talked about where the time in class is not specifically allotted.

These events are important for the Juniata/Huntingdon community, and I would like to thank Spanish Club for having it and inviting the school to join.