Latino is Back: Celebración Hispana
Emmitt Williams
ewill756@uwsp.edu

Latino is back, and the Latino Student Alliance (LSA) celebrates another year of Celebración Hispana to close out the month of September.

This Saturday calls for celebration as the LSA prepares to share and celebrate the Latino culture. They have been preparing for Celebración Hispana all summer and plan to put on a successful event in hopes that the community, faculty and students will come out and support.

After speaking with Maira Avila, Spanish and sociology major and this year’s LSA president, it was obvious that the excitement of Celebración Hispana has already begun.

“I hope people leave there thinking, ‘Wow, that Hispanic culture is amazing,’” Avila said. “I hope they have a lot of fun.”

Yomary Velez, a Biology/Pre-Veterinarian and Spanish major, hopes that the students will respond positively, learn a lot and have a good time.

While preparing for Celebración Hispana, they have faced challenges. In events like Celebración Hispana where a certain culture is the focus, it is always a challenge to get others to realize that they don’t have to be of that culture to participate.

“The hardest part has been getting people involved without being shy,” Velez said.

“People sometimes feel that because we say Hispanic celebration they feel they have to be Latinos to be part of it, but we actually want non-Hispanics to get involved as well,” Avila said.

Other challenges have been minor and humorous in some ways.

“I think the hardest part has been getting people to know how pronounce it. Some call it Celebración Hispanica,” Avila said.

After speaking with Avila and Velez, it was evident they were not only excited about the event but hope a great number of students, members of the community and faculty, Hispanic or not, come out and be a part of the celebration.

This is also the goal from an advisor’s standpoint. Dr. Elia J. Armacanqui-Tipacti, an Associate Professor of Spanish and one of the advisors of the LSA, mentions similar comments to Avila and Velez’s.

“I am hoping students respond more.  Last year, there were more people from the community, but this year I think there will be more people from campus,” Armacanqui-Tipacti said.

Every year, Celebración Hispana is enjoyed with entertainment, music and food from different countries within the Latino culture. For instance, this year there will be authentic Latino dishes from Peru, Dominican Republic, Costa Rica, Puerto Rico and Mexico.

All three agreed that, along with the food, the music brings it all to life.

“Being Latino also means being happy, which means we cannot lack music,” Armacanqui-Tipacti said.

“Entertainment, food, and music are all very important to the Latino culture,” Velez said.

“We do that every weekend at my place,” Avila said.

In addition to Celebración Hispana, the LSA is attempting to both promote the Latino culture and educate those who are unfamiliar with the culture.

“Celebración Hispana mostly focuses on celebrating the Hispanic culture.  Other events we hope to teach the history of why we celebrate it and go more into the education part of it,” Avila said.

Celebración Hispana will be held in the Laird Room in the Dreyfus University Center. Events start at 5:30 pm, but doors will open at 5 pm. Tickets for students are $7, $10 for faculty and adults, and free for kids under the age of six. There will be Hispanic cuisine, live performances from students on campus and a special feature from Escamilla Entertainment. Tickets can be purchased at the Information and Tickets desk in the Dreyfus University Center.