Building Latino Unity, Sharing Latino Culture
ĄPura vida! Colby was “full of life” in its celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month, observed with events from mid-September to mid-October.
The Pugh Center’s Diversity Dialogue Dinners kicked off in September with a discussion of The Latino Experience, facilitated by Director of the Pugh Center Tashia Bradley and Angela Sepulveda ’14. The idea was for 20 students to gather monthly and discuss a topic while enjoying a community style dinner.
Dinner tables were adorned with vases of yellow roses to signify the warmth and unity of conversation, and place settings suggested discussion guidelines. Although the cuisine wasn’t culturally inspired, the conversation was.
Participants discussed the complex connotations of the terms “Latino/a,” Hispanic,” and “Spanish.” There was no consensus on the appropriate use of each term, but participants learned the historical roots and usages. Students warmed to each other and shared personal stories of conflicted experiences.
Even a Hillel Shabbat dinner had a Mexican theme in September.
As bachata, merengue, and salsa melodies belted from the Pugh Center kitchen’s window, students whipped up traditional dishes such as carne asada tacos, pollo en crema de chile chipotle, and desserts such as buńuelos (Mexican-style doughnuts) and churro cupcakes. If the spicy and sweet blends of the foods didn’t have taste buds on a rollercoaster, the cool beverages did—horchata (a milky citrus drink) and limonada (limeade). Sonia Vargas ’15 said that, “the familiar smells and scenes made the Pugh Center feel more homey.”
During the month-long celebration, students passing through Pugh on Thursday afternoons could usually find the projector screening a film portraying an aspect of the Hispanic diaspora. In the Time of the Butterflies and Adelente Mujeres inspired impromptu conversations among the lunch crowds.
It wouldn’t be a celebration without the vibrant sounds and moves of Hispanic culture, and the month ended on the right foot. Bowdoin dance instructor Nyama McCarthy Brown taught students at the salsa casino dance, and they were able to put their lessons in motion at the discoteca-style dance party.