BY LUCAS FERREIRA // Oct. 15, 2017 //
The Latino Student Union showed its flair for events on campus this semester with the recent Carnival del Barrio in the Katz Gymnasium.
The event, which translates from Spanish to ‘Neighborhood Carnival,’ was organized by LSU to bring a greater degree of diversity forward on Curry College’s campus. Columbia, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Venezuela, and the Dominican Republic were all represented with games, music, and lights to entertain and inform students about each culture.
The President of LSU, Jasmine Rodulfo, a native of the Bronx and descendent of Puerto Rican and Saint Lucian parents, gave The Currier Times the scoop on what role she’d like LSU to play on campus and the importance of diversity at Curry.
“My first year was a cultural shock for me,” Rodulfo stated when looking back at the immense diversity she had grown up with compared to arriving at Curry College.
She emphasized the trend that Latino students tend to drop out or transfer from Curry early on in their first semester and that while diversity at Curry was already minimal compared to other schools, she wanted to create a space specifically for diversity on campus.
“I wanted to make this club a safe-haven for not only Latino students but anyone that wanted to learn about Latin culture,” Rodulfo explained, welcoming all those that would like to join to become involved with LSU.
Hispanic Heritage Month, the month of October, celebrates the culturalism and independence of Latin cultures and the importance of their impact on society. ‘Carnival del Barrio’ was LSU’s first event to showcase their pride in Latin culture and informing students through cuisine offered in the student center, candy, posters, and a piñata to celebrate.
Brianna Dawkins, the Vice-President of LSU and a senior criminal justice major, also expressed her views regarding the event.
As an avid fan of culture and expressing it, Dawkins sees LSU as a great platform for diversity on campus. Because LSU is multicultural and does not need you to qualify as Latino to join, the group is open-minded to discussion and those curious to participate in fostering diversity and appreciation on campus.
“I think in the future, we want cultural understanding,” Dawkins noted. “Again it doesn’t matter where a person comes from or how they identify, I think we just need people to understand that culture is important and even if you don’t identify with a certain culture why not indulge for the night?”
Both the President and Vice President agree that being away from home can be a disorienting experience and both have encouraged anyone seeking a place of understanding, to learn and practice the culture that can be found at the Latino Student Union.
LSU promises future events similar to Carnival del Barrio but will pay attention to what students would like to see through feedback.
The event, which occurred in the Katz Gymnasium, saw a positive turnout from both students and faculty looking to see what was being offered, with most coming away with positive comments regarding what they thought.
Among them was Gregory Estes, a member of the junior class and Student Government, who came out to show his support for the event having previously taken courses related to Latin culture.
“I am absolutely ecstatic to be here,” Estes said with a trademark smile. “I love Latin culture, I myself am not Latino, but I thoroughly enjoy learning about Latin countries.”
Dr. Grant Burrier, a Politics and History professor, has previously taught classes related to Latin America and international relations and thought the event was very positive for the campus.
“I’m loving the event, this is absolutely awesome,” Burrier added. “We’re raising awareness and we’re raising Latino pride in the gym and it’s a great time.”
With the success of Carnival del Barrio and the overall positive feedback from those in attendance, hopefully, LSU will continue to make improvements towards celebrating diversity and uniqueness on campus along with other clubs.