Anchor Intro: Many events are held every semester to celebrate cultures around the world. One event this month had a particular twist. TV2’s Lauren Stebelton tells us more.
Kent State held its first annual Latin Fest April first in the Student Center Ballroom, but with a mission in mind.
The Spanish and Latino Student Association, or SALSA, presented the event, along with ten other diverse multicultural organizations.
These organizations came together to promote and share this mission: breaking down stereotypes.
Dunya Jeane, an African-Latino clothing line, is one of these groups.
“SALSA asked us to be a part of their event because we are a multicultural organization,” said President Cree Pippen. “What they wanted us to do is to do our own research and learn about them to be able to present ourselves to the people coming. It is all about unity within the organizations.”
Pippen believes appreciation and understanding for different cultures is the key to separating these barriers and bringing the community together.
“We have weekly meetings and events where we promote and celebrate cultural awareness and diversity,” said Pippen. “We’ll have discussions where we learn more about a certain culture to break down stereotypes and barriers to appreciate more.”
SALSA President Natalia Roman feels the same. She believes students should know Latino culture is present and active at Kent State.
“We started thinking of Latin Fest as music, food and dancing, but we needed to add an educational aspect to it,” said Roman. “We incorporated several diversity organizations, and they offered their resources, upcoming events and discussed a particular topic within Latino culture present to the mission.”
The Puerto Rico native worked hard for months to put this event together, and it all paid off, when her father walked through the door.
“I was in a line dance with all of the people here, and out of nowhere my dad joins in the line dance,” said Roman. “It was ridiculous. I’ve been texting with him all day, and this was completely unexpected.”
These experiences international students have can make all the difference.