A taste for delicious Latino-inspired cuisine, traditional music, dance including salsa, and benefits to the local organization “La Casita,” all contributed to the unprecedented attendance to the LSA Banquet last Friday. At the banquet, participants could enjoy a free, tasty meal and revel in the company of their well-dressed peers, as formal attire was a requisite. The banquet included guest dancers, a presentation for “La Casita,” and salsa dancing for all attendees after the meal.
The Latino Student Alliance is a club on campus that puts on a variety of events throughout the year to raise awareness about Latino and Hispanic culture. The group is open to everyone and welcomes all students. La Casita is an extension of the Harrisonburg Boys and Girls Club, part of the Latino Outreach Program of Valley View. The mission of the organization, according to the program’s Facebook page, “is to inspire and enable all young people, especially those from disadvantaged circumstances, to realize their full potential as productive, responsible, and caring citizens.” It is a mentor/mentee-based program, and several EMU students are committed volunteers.
The banquet drew many attendants, and extra seating had to be arranged at the last minute to accommodate the eager guests. Overall the event was a success, despite the hiccups in seating.
First-year Natasha Hartzler said, “I really liked it! It was creative that they involved traditional dancing. The food was really good. It did go a little long, though it was super fun to get dressed
up.”The increased attendance, while inconvenient, did not put a damper on the atmosphere of the evening. The schedule for the night was slightly inhibited due to the unexpected numbers, however most had fun during the event.
First year Ale Hartzler said, “I really liked the dancing part. I wish more people knew how to dance salsa though. The whole event started kind of late, which was unfortunate. The food was great, and I loved to dress all girly-like. I love wearing heels!”
Incorporating a diversity of events and cultures on campus enriches student life, and the banquet heralded Latino Heritage Month with a great ceremony.
-Rehana Franklin, Staff Writer; photo credit, Alicia Calkins