The sound of Cumbia, Salsa, and Reggaeton blared from Saddleback College’s Student Lounge, echoing throughout the typically quiet campus. Students were piled into SSC 212, which was paved with a wooden dance floor and decorated with multicolored streamers, flags, and a piñata to join on the “Latin Night” event held on Oct. 18.
Associated Student Government, Inter Club Council, and Salsa Club collaborated to present a night of Latino culture, free food, and of course, dance.
“We wanted to celebrate Latino culture and give out [Latin] poetry reading, salsa, and Latin food. It’s a mixed celebration,” said Justin Santiago, 20, physical therapy, said. “The student government wanted to let the student body know about it and we did class presentations to advertise.”
Ismael Mendoza, instructor of the salsa club that meets on campus every Monday night and wanted to jump in on the opportunity to create Latin Night in order to tell others about the club.
“We are providing the opportunity to meet people and also learn a new dance,” Mendoza said. “I want people to not be afraid to come in and dance. We take our time.”
Club member Jessica Shea, 20, undecided noted that many of the ICC members and leaders are also a part of the salsa club and encourage students to participate in salsa club and Latin night.
“It’s a good place for beginners to start. Everyone is pretty friendly,” Shea said. “It’s nice because it’s late in the evening after classes are done. It’s free and they don’t care how old you are, anyone can do it.”
Shea also calmed fears about not having a dance partner, stating that the class was evenly mixed.
“This year there are more guys in the club,” said Shea. “It’s nice because then people don’t feel like, ‘Oh no I don’t have a partner’.”
Basim Sadrzadeh, 22, latin american politics and ICC director worked together with ASG president Christina Park to create goals and ideas for the event.
“Me and CJ (ASG President) were talking and we feel Saddleback doesn’t have the feel of a four year school and wanted to bring that here,” Sadrzadeh said. “We also wanted students to know that their student government is there for them. We are here for the students.”
Sadrzadeh also wanted to the event to be an educational experience for students to be able to learn about Latin culture. “Having Latin cultures so close to us and yet no one really knows much about them,” Sadrzadeh said. “It’s cool to be able to introduce their poetry, music, and food to the student body.” Others came out to Latin Night to get introduced to their fellow Saddleback students. “This is my first semester and I don’t really know what goes on,” said Amir Ardmi, 18, biology. “It’s a good way to meet people.” For the past four weeks, ASG met non-stop putting together themes, picking music, and creating the structure of the event
“I was really stressed out,” Sadrzadeh said. “Student government has put a lot of effort into this, so I’m pretty happy with the outcome.”
“It’s very fun, I love the atmosphere. There is so much energy here,” said Britney Lewis, 18, nutrition. “I danced throughout high school so I love it.”
The student government for the past four weeks met none stop putting together themes, picking music, and creating the structure of the event,” Sadrzadeh said. “Student government has put a lot of effort into this, so I’m pretty happy with the outcome.”