Semester Pe§a Presents Night of Music, Dance

Jenifer Bernardo
El Vaquero Editor-in-Chief

About 150 friends and family of the Association of Latin American Students (ALAS) were treated to an evening of multicultural performances ranging from Andean music to Mexican folkloric dance at a Pe§a held Dec. 1 in the student center.

ALAS and the Ethnic Studies Department sponsored the fund-raiser that collected about $700 for the GCC Library’s Latin American and Latino Studies collection.

“We are hoping to gather enough funds for at least 50 to 60 new titles in the GCC library,” said Carlos Ugalde, ALAS adviser and professor of Latin American Studies.

ALAS raises funds for various projects and organizations every semester. Nelson Martinez, an ALAS member and GCC student, said that last year the club donated about $3,500 to Central American Resource Center (CARECEN), a non-profit advocacy group for Central Americans and Latinos.
The Student Center conference room was set up with tables and chairs for dining and the center of the room served as a stage for the Andean, Mexican and Caribbean musical performances, and Panamanian, Aztec and Mexican folkloric dance performances.

A buffet of Latin American food was set outside. Booths also sold Latin American products and there was also a booth for the Colombia Peace Project, an organization that educates the public about Colombia’s current social and political problems. CPP coordinator Patrick Bonner said that the organization is about two years old.

“Our mission is to keep up with what is happening in Colombia and raise everyone’s awareness on what is going on there.” Bonner said. People need to be aware of the interrelation between countries and how their policies affect one another, he added.

Former GCC student, Mario Torrico, has been going to the Pe§as for more than 10 years. “I think it’s a great outlet for students to be able to see the different cultural performances.” Torrico said. “You usually have to go to different events and pay a lot of money to see these performances.”
Celia Hidalgo, a former GCC student and ALAS member, said she tries to attend the event every semester. “I go because of the family atmosphere,” Hidalgo said.

“ALAS is not just for Latin American students,” said ALAS member Armando Catalan. “We want to let other people know about the social and political issues that make up Latin America.”

Ugalde said that ALAS will have its third film festival in the spring semester. ALAS had its first film festival 10 years ago, followed up by the second festival last year.

There will be eight films presented in the Student Center conference room.