LACOS Gala features ‘LatinXelencia’

Megan Hays, Staff Writer

The University’s annual Latinx Alliance for Community and Opportunity (LACOS) Gala was held on April 15 from 5-7 p.m. in Larison Dining Hall. LACOS group members, professors, and other students were in attendance.

“This is a cultural event that prompts a dialogue in our community celebrating our identities, traditions, languages and memories,” Associate Professor of Spanish and LACOS co-adviser Fernando Blanco said on behalf of himself and his fellow co-adviser, Associate Professor of Spanish Elisabeth Guerrero.

LACOS is a group that works to enhance the experience and community of students who identify as Latinx, Hispanic, and/or are a part of Spanish and Portuguese speaking cultures. The group is open to all students and holds informative events in order to increase inclusiveness and raise awareness on campus.

The theme differs each year, with this year’s theme as “LatinXelencia” or Latinx excellence, which was chosen to highlight the most powerful leaders, musicians, actors, and other figures from each Latin American country.

Tables were set up featuring photographs of noteworthy individuals from each country, highlighting their accomplishments and contributions to Latin America and the world. Songs, dances, and poems were performed by individuals that focused on Latinx cultural ideals and the current issues they face, such as deportation, among others.

“The gala allows Latinx students to feel at home as well as prideful of the cultural traditions they are sharing with their peers and professors. It also allows those who are unaware of these traditions to learn more and understand the Latinx students on campus better,” LACOS President Esmeralda Luna ’19 said.

Dance performances included salsa, bachata, merengue, cambia, and jarabe tapatió, and guests were served cultural foods such as empañadas, rice, beans and chicken, and tres leches. LACOS students enjoyed sharing these pieces of their culture with everyone in attendance.

“I love seeing all my friends and professors enjoy the music of my people and the amazing taste of different Latinx foods we cater,” Luna said.

Members of LACOS stressed the importance of cultural events on campus as a source of pride for their own community and an opportunity for all students to explore diverse traditions.

“This event is beneficial to the Latinx/Hispanic community at Bucknell because it allows us to showcase our culture to the rest of the community,” Jemmy Moreira ’20, a LACOS officer, said.

“It can be very emotionally exhausting to constantly feel out of place at a university like Bucknell, but events like the gala help Latinx students feel safe, understood, appreciated, and just happy overall,” Luna said.

Luna, Blanco, and Moreira, along with other team members, were responsible for the logistics of the event, including seeking funding from different departments and setting up the catering menu to bring this cultural event to life.

“LACOS wanted to bring together people of Latino background as well as others to enjoy food, dance, and conversations in these difficult times to honor the past, present, and future of Latinos in the United States,” Blanco said.

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