Spanish Language Association aims to break stereotypes

By Victoria Kernen

Cal Poly Pomona’s Spanish Language Association has grown in the past years, but it has seen a lot of stereotypes regarding whom its members are.

President of SLA Monica Olivas can assure the organization’s critics that it is more than the stereotypes.

The SLA has been at CPP since 2006, and it has seen its share of rough patches trying to promote itself, but members still work continuously to increase the organization’s visibility on campus.

Olivas, a third-year Spanish student, said that SLA’s goal is to promote the use of Spanish and eliminate the misconceptions people have about Spanish speakers by having cultural events on campus. One of the misconceptions about the club is that it is an association that is centered on recruiting “Mexican” students.

“We’re definitely interpreted as the ‘Mexican club,’ which is really not the focus we are trying to make,” said Olivas.

It may seem that the club is focused on Mexican culture by throwing Mexican-based events, but this is because most club members are Mexican, but not all.

The club is, and will always be, open to Spanish speakers and anyone willing to learn about Latin culture and heritage.

First-year hospitality student Joanna, who chose to conceal her last name, thinks that the association could be a good place to practice her Spanish.

“My grandma only speaks Spanish, and [my Spanish] is really not all that great, so if I find the time, then I might join” said Joanna.

The association held its D_Òå_a de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, event on Friday at Bronco Commons. It was there to celebrate the holiday and raise money for an organization called La Raza, which focuses on helping Hispanics in Orange County go to college.

Sergio Maldonado Aguieiga, a first-year psychology transfer student, said that the altar that SLA had present at the event was in dedication to the victims of the earthquake in Chile in September.

SLA has its meetings on Thursdays during U-Hour in Building 5, room 104. Members discuss upcoming events and ways to shine a positive light on Spanish speakers at CPP and the community.

On Friday, SLA will be attending the premiere of “Los 33″ at AMC Puente Hills 20, a film about the 33 Chilean miners that were trapped underground for 69 days ” anyone is welcomed to join and is encouraged to bring along family and friends.

SLA also has a Facebook page, where members post relevant articles as well as upcoming events that everyone is welcomed to attend.

“We are not a Mexican club; we are a Latino club [and a] anybody who speaks Spanish club, [or even if you] just want to come and learn, you are welcomed,” said Olivas.

Spanish Language Association

Victoria Kernen / The Poly Post

Spanish Language Association

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