Club embraces Hispanic, Latino culture

Story and Photo by Sarah Beth Coleman

ElRitmo-w2000-h2000Students at Drake University are embracing diversity through jactivities hosted by the Spanish and Latin American club on campus, El Ritmo Latino.

The mission statement for the group is to provide opportunities at Drake and in the community, to experience and embrace the Hispanic and Latino culture.

“Our goal is to educate campus about Hispanic and Latino culture and hold certain events to accomplish that.” Xavier Quinn, treasurer said. “If anything, we want to promote awareness.”

The club holds dance lessons as part of that goal.

A professional teacher from Salsa Des Moines, a non-profit that offers dance lessons, directs the class.

Students will learn dances from salsa to the bachata to the zouk over nine events this semester.

The step-by-step instructions and instructor’s one on one assistance make learning the turns and steps simple.

Toward the end of the hour- long event, students have a chance to practice their new moves and dance with others.

The third of the nine-class series took place this past Tuesday.

They will occur every Tuesday at five p.m. in the Pomerantz Stage area.

“If they attend seven or more this semester we will reward them with a T-shirt” Salena Brickey, president of El Ritmo Latino, said.

Community service is a core value to the campus club.

“We do service with Amanda the Panda” Quinn explained.

Amanda the Panda is a service provided to children, teens, and adults to help with the loss of a family member.

El Ritmo Latino has volunteered with everything from making Christmas cards to attending and helping with a Halloween party.

El Ritmo Latino is also in the planning stages for a new language program.

“It will be like a Skype pen pal,” Brickey said “There will be a culture based one and a language based one, in the culture one you can just speak English.”

Students would be able to talk to students from Chile or Peru about their cultural differences and if they speak Spanish, can practice conversation skills.

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