SALSA club supports, celebrates Latin culture

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    By EMELY ARROYO

    When people hear the word salsa, images of chips and hot sauce or a type of Latin dance may come to mind, but for one campus club, salsa means more than food and entertainment.

    The club Strength Among Latins and Student Activities began in September.

    “SALSA is about concerned students coming together to celebrate the Latin culture,” said Liana Brown, SALSA faculty adviser. “The purpose of SALSA is to educate BYU campus and unite Latins and Latin clubs on campus. We also want to reach out to the community.”

    The club, a brainchild of the MultiCultural Student Services Office, is designed to also provide a social support for students of Hispanic descent.

    “We wanted a club where Latin students could feel the same support as students who were involved with Tribe of Many Feathers and the Polynesian Club felt,” Brown said. “What is nice about this club is that it has both support from BYUSA and from the MultiCultural Office.”

    There are many Hispanic clubs on campus, but SALSA plays a unique role in uniting the different clubs, said Steve Ibarra, a junior from Sunnyside, Wash., majoring in pre-public policy, and SALSA vice-president.

    “SALSA is supposed to act as an umbrella club that covers all the Hispanic cultures and unites them … bringing them together to better share their cultures with everyone else,” Ibarra said.

    Although much of SALSA’s focus has been brainstorming and organizing its structure during fall semester, it has had a few activities already.

    For $18, people can learn cultural dances from different Latin countries in classes held Wednesdays from 7:30 p.m. to 10 p.m.

    SALSA members have also visited local elementary schools and given presentations about different Latin countries.

    “We’d like to be seen as a service-oriented club, therefore the reason we went to these elementary schools was to educate children about the different Hispanic cultures and to further interact with the community,” said Ruth Stubbs, SALSA officer and a junior from Wichita, Kan., majoring in social work.

    On Dec. 14, SALSA will sponsor its first fireside.

    However, SALSA members plan to implement most of their programs and fund-raisers beginning Winter Semester 1998. SALSA’s main goal for the winter is to take an active role in Heritage Week.

    “We plan to sponsor a big Latin dance for Heritage Week. Right now, we are setting up committees for that program. Now is the time to get involved … and you don’t have to be Latin to be a part of SALSA,” Brown said.

    SALSA is also sponsoring a logo contest.

    “We extended the contest to allow more students to participate in helping us find a logo that will represent all the Latin cultures, not just one specific country,” Brown said.

    The next club meeting will be Dec. 4 in 3220 ELWC. For more information about SALSA and its activities, people can contact the MultiCultural Student Services Office in 1320 ELWC.

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