Over 200 guests packed the J.W. Smith Student Center conference room Saturday night to enjoy a night of food and festivites, all the while helping a worthy cause.
The Association of Latin American Students, along with the help of the Ethnic Studies Department, once again held their bi-annual Peña event, raising $1,500.
Proceeds of this semester’s Peña is going toward the Nicaraguan School Project, a fund to help the impoverished areas of Nicaragua, targeting high-risk youths and underdeveloped educational resources.
“All of ALAS was extremely pleased with the turnout despite the rain and the silly boxing match of Oscar de la Hoya,” said Carlos Ugalde, associate professor of Latin American Studies and adviser to ALAS.
“We are grateful to the soliditary support of the students and the others that attended,” Ugalde said.
The event included music from Veracruz, Mexico, Bolivia and Nicaragua, folkdances, exhibits, books, CDs, food and arts and crafts.
“I came with my mother,” said GCC student Dorea Neptune. “I think the event is good. It’s really attracting people.” Regarding the cause the fundraiser was supporting, she said. “It’s good to help others. In America, we have the means so why not.”
“We like coming and supporting these kinds of events. It’s the best thing when people [fundraise] for education…for little kids,” said Thomas Tarifa, president of Bolivia Andina.
Tarifa’s dance group performed a variety of numbers, including the “Caporales,” a traditional folk dance.
Viva Panama, another dance group at the event, performed coupled dances including “Atravisados,”one of the more popular dances in Panama.
“We have been coming here for the last three years,” said Victor Grimaldo, of Viva Panama. “We enjoy doing it every time and we enjoy supporting ALAS.”
Among the dance troupes, musical groups like Xochisoneros and Los Capovales also performed.
The event is the first in a series of three planned to raise money for the Nicaraguan School Project.
The second event is a barbecue scheduled for October at Ugalde’s home. The third event will be the next Pe§a scheduled for December.
Last semester’s Pe§a supported the building of a school in the Andes mountains in Peru.
According to Ugalde, $3,000 in funds have already been used to build the school house. Another $2,500 will be delivered to the organizers of the project this year.
“They have been extremely appreciative,” said Ugalde of the supporters in Peru.