By Karla Fonseca
Union Latina (UL), the main Hispanic organization of the College which observes Latin culture and community, hosted their annual GALA 2022, with the support of many cosponsors, including Mexican Student Association, Black Student Union and Asian American Association on Oct. 23. The theme for the GALA was “Celebración de las Banderas,” which means “Celebration of the Flags,” to recognize the many countries of Latin America.
The GALA took place in room 100 of the Brower Student Center from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. with many tables set up to accommodate the attendees. Each table had assorted flowers and a flag along with a card displaying a Latin American country. Placed on the wall of the room were also many large flags of various Latin American countries.
“We have definitely put a lot of research into including every single country and making sure that everybody feels represented,” community service chair of UL and sophomore psychology major Alejandra Osoria said. “It's very important to include all nationalities of Latin America despite not every nationality being present here.”
The event included a DJ, dance performances from the Rutgers Latin Dance Club, as well as the College’s Ritmo Latino and Latin American food.
“Teamwork was a big, big portion behind this event. Everybody has to do their part,” Osoria said. “Overall, this was a super fun event to coordinate, and we hope everybody enjoys it. It takes a lot of heart and responsibility to make this event happen.”
This event was open to all students of the College, regardless of their background.
“I love being around other people that I can share the same experiences with and get to learn more about their own individual experiences as well, and just to have a really good time,” said sophomore English major Sian Brossard.
Attendees of the GALA included those reconnecting with their culture, as well as those seeking to learn about Latin American culture.
“I came to dance and enjoy time with my friends while learning a little bit about different cultures that I am not a part of,” said sophomore communication studies major Gabrielle Smith. “I also came to enjoy the food because this is a great opportunity to explore different flavors.”
Students of the College recognize the importance of acknowledging the different populations and cultures that are present here.
“It’s been amazing to see everybody come out in traditional clothing, representing their flag, to see all the fits, the food [and] the dancing,” said senior international studies major Uzi Cortez. “You don’t get to really feel a part of your culture that much when you’re at a PWI (Primarily White Institution) so it’s just amazing to have that night where you can be with your community.”
The GALA served its purpose of having everyone enjoy themselves while, at the same time, giving a comfortable space for minority populations of the College. Moreover, it was a learning experience for many who were in attendance.
“We hosted this event to celebrate Latin culture and remind everybody about their heritage,” treasurer of UL and junior finance major Kelly Jaramillo said. “You should remember your roots and culture and celebrate with a bunch of people that are like you.”