OLAS honors Argentina at Noche de Gala

Hunter Lyle – Reporter

The annual Noche de Gala started off the evening with the hot food and fast-paced music from Argentinian culture.

The event is hosted by the Organization of Latin American Students in the Adanti Student Ballroom. For the first time ever, the event focused on the culture of the country, Argentina.

A junior, chemistry major and president of OLAS, Alba Turcios, said that in the past, OLAS has featured countries like Costa Rica, Ecuador, Nicaragua, and Brazil
at their event, and this year the group voted on Argentina.

“[Noche de Gala] was made to just embrace a specific culture, a specific Spanish country in which we can educate people on,” said Turcios. “It’s pretty much just a night where people can immerse themselves in a different culture and really embrace it overall.”

The event attracted people from all over dressed in semi-formal attire, whether they were a member of the OLAS organization or not.

Sophomore, education and English double major, Ianaliz Riveria, said she came to support her friends involved with OLAS.

“My friends are in OLAS and I like learning about culture,” said Riveria. “The food is really good, tasty, sabroso, as we say in Spanish.”

Noche de Gala, which went on from 8p.m.to1 a.m., brought in people who do not attend Southern, like Breyanna Lesperance, a student at Eastern Connecticut State University.

“My closest friend, best friend Jamie, she’s the secretary so I had to come support,” said Lesperance. “I think [Noche de Gala] is really nice, we don’t have anything like this at Eastern.”

After the hosts and hostesses from OLAS thanked the crowd, the night also featured performances of the official dance of Argentina: the tango.

The partnered dance was performed first by Southern’s dance team, who were followed
by a couple who are professional tango instructors from Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Riveria said she was very impressed by the dancing and the performances by both the dance team and the couple was the highlight of her night.

Part of the purpose of this event, is to help fund and give out scholarships to students, said Turcios.

“After the years, we decided to start giving out scholarships. We started seeing some money come back from these events,” said Turcios. “Once we saw money coming in, we said, ‘we should not keep any of this, we should just give it all away.’”

Turcios said OLAS are partnered with Connecticut Association of Latinos in Higher Education, to help fundraise for scholarships for incoming Latino and Latina freshman.

“CALAHE is an organization off campus, and we give them money and they match to help pay for scholarships,” said Turcios, “and then they give out the scholarships in our name.”

After the second and final display from the SCSU Dance Team, the dance floor was eventually opened up for audience members to get their boogie on.

“What I hope, personally myself, is that people can break out of their comfort zone,” said Turcios. “I want people to not be afraid to be uncomfortable. I want people to feel free to understand the country, feel free to break those racial boundaries.”

Photo Credit: Hunter Lyle


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