SMC's Latin Invasion Takes Over

The Latino Student Union (LSU) and Association of Latin American Students (ALAS) hosted an afternoon of lively Latin dances and delicious foods from various Latin countries on Thursday, Oct. 23, at the SMC clocktower. An audience began gathering around the clocktower a little after 11 a.m. as SMC students Rene Hernandez, Vivían Solis, Elena Nuñez, Justin Mendez, Carlos Castillo, and Esmeralda Sandoval danced Merengue and Reggaeton.

After dancing, Justin Mendez, a member of LSU commented with a smile that the event was "two groups coming together as one," referring to the different Latin student groups LSU and ALAS.

Different booths were set up around the clocktower for the different Latin countries being represented. All of the booths were sampling food and basic information on their country. Students were allowed to sample the food if they completed a small booklet about the different countries, including various questions about the countries such as the national bird.

El Salvador's booth was sampling rellenitos, or "plantains with beans inside," said Ana Vielman. They are surprisingly sweet, and don't have a strong taste of beans at all. They were also serving a punch from Nicaragua which Vielman described as, "natural juice with a lot of fruit inside."

At another booth, Mexico and North America were represented. Chicken tamales were being served with both green and red sauce. From Cuba, Erica Cortez explains the fried-ball looking treats at her table as, "potato balls filled with meat and veggies." The pastries being served at that booth looked like croissant's which she described as filled with fruit jelly.

While exploring the booths, Laura, LSU club coordinator, at the mic probed the audience for a response on what dance had just been performed. After commenting that everyone came for the food, she enthusiastically announced the dance, "The Chata!" All of the audience seemed engaged in watching the dancing couple swing each other around to such a passionate dance.

All throughout the event, LSU and ALAS members emphasize that you do not have to be Latin to partake in their clubs or events. Israel Torres, while sipping some of the juice from Nicaragua, said about the event, "I like it.

It's an eye-opening experience for those people who don't know about Hispanic culture." Standing by his side, Josephine Noh agreed. She said, "Not everyone is Mexican. This stops stereotypes."