Christina Rodriguez ’14, Latino Association president, reflects on this year’s Latin Expo on March 2, the ninth in University history and the fourth she has hosted, as well as the scholarship essay contest she co-founded at Arcadia.
“You went out with a bang!”
This expression seems to be the common reaction when I ask for thoughts on this year’s Latin Expo. In accordance with the theme “Influential Latinos,” we based every portion of the Expo on the desire to spread knowledge about Latinos—both in and out of the United States—who have impacted their respective fields and the world in general. More than 50 people attended the Expo, which had three parts: food, education, and entertainment. Entertainment included Philadelphia-based The Final Touch Band, as well as performances by Puro Ritmo, Latino Association members, and guest Aaron Johns. Poetry, song, and dance integrated with the event’s theme as Latin tunes, moves, and words were written by or dedicated to influential Latinos.
Building on the theme of impact, the Expo also served as the first formal announcement and collection for a scholarship essay contest that the Latino Association hopes to initiate. The essay contest’s winner, who does not have to be Hispanic or Latino, must exhibit passion for the culture and be willing to apply it to active membership in the club.
As a graduating senior, I hope to leave behind a foundation that allows the association to offer this contest each year—not only to encourage a student to find his or her purpose in our club, but, more importantly, to assist that person in finding his or her purpose at Arcadia. Former Latino Association President Angelica Santos ’12 planted the idea for this contest, giving me the opportunity to make it a reality. I believe that if a person has the will and dedication to be successful in higher education, cost should not be the impediment. Although I do not foresee thousands of dollars being raised each year, I am a firm believer that it is the accumulation of small steps that yields the largest impact.
We raised hundreds of dollars at the Latin Expo, to which we plan to add from possible collections at the third annual African, Latino, Asian, Native American (ALANA) Alumni dinner on Saturday, April 26, which the Latino Association will host. With this money and the support of Arcadia faculty and staff, the Latino Association scholarship essay contest will become not only a tradition for the club, but a notable cause within the University itself, which I am proud will be dedicated to those who truly want to be here and are passionate about the Latino/Hispanic culture(s).