By Sarita Chandanani
Ursa Minor was culturally decorated with the flags of Latin
America on Thursday night. The Raza Graduation Committee presented
“Noche de Salsa” in efforts to fundraise for their upcoming
cultural graduation ceremony.
“This is a great event to network and exercise. I would
definitely attend this event in the future and would even like to
become part of the Raza Grad Committee,” said Ringo Estrada, a
fourth-year political science student.
Despite this event being the first of its kind for the
organization, it was a success with more 50 people in
The instructors guided the crowd effortlessly as they
demonstrated the sensuous movements of salsa dancing and made even
the stiffest of people loosen their hips.
The crowd was divided by gender and was taught the intricate
movements each male/female partner must acquire in order to make
the dance flourish.
Since each movement in the dance is planned and co-dependant on
the other partner, the students had to pay close attention to the
steps and rhythm of the music in order to keep up with the
The men in particular had the more difficult task of learning
the steps since it is the man who dictates the movement and
controls the woman in the art of salsa.
The students seemed to enjoy the music and learning the dance
steps. The instructors who are also Cal Poly graduate students were
very patient and willing to help individual couples as they
practiced their dance moves.
“I was in my dorm room and thought about taking a break before
midterms and so I showed up here,” said Antonio Salas, third-year
civil engineering student. I haven’t salsa danced in three years
and I’m glad I got back in the mood. I’m having so much fun I would
show up again tomorrow if they were having it.”
The crowd was comprised not only of Latino students but also of
Asian, Caucasian and African American descent who were both
beginners and advanced salsa dancers.
This event reached audiences across campus by word of mouth and
flyers and was able to attract both graduate and under-graduate
Joyous students said they would return to support Raza Grad and
have a good time.
“Raza Grad is a cultural celebration that allows for a more
intimate setting where students can share their special moment with
their families and those who have helped them to achieve their
triumph,” said Cecilia Santiago, Coordinator of the Cesar Chavez
Center and Advisor to the Raza Grad Committee.
“This does not take away from the formal graduation ceremony
held on campus but just adds (a cultural influence) to the
student’s commencement,” said Santiago.
Fundraisers such as the salsa night are essential to the
committee because not only is it a way to raise funds but also
helps spread awareness of the cultural celebration.
Throughout the year, the Raza Grad Committee puts on various
events such as the upcoming Acapulco’s night fundraiser scheduled
for Feb. 22.
Raza Grad is mostly funded by the Cesar Chavez Center and works
throughout the year to make it as thriving as possible.
The celebration is open to all majors and cultures, though it is
mostly Latino based.
RAZA Grad is scheduled to take place on Sunday, June 3 and is
anticipating more than 200 people in attendance.
Sarita Chandanani can be reached by e-mail at
firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at (909) 869-3744.
Everyone Can Learn to Salsa
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