by Jack Melanson, Staff Writer
On Friday night, Nov. 6th, Manhattan College students stepped into the elevator of Kelly Commons, pressed five, and waited for the doors to open again. On the fifth floor, they heard loud, Latino music and laughter.
The students then entered a dark room with streaming lights, a dance floor, people socializing and a ton of Latino food.
This was Latinofest 2015.
Student Activities teamed up with the Society of Hispanic Engineers, also known as SHEP, and Fuerza Latina for the second year in a row to provide, music, dancing, food and much more at this semi-formal event.
Ivan Bohorquez is a senior international studies major at Manhattan College and is both the founder and the current president of Fuerza Latina. Ivan spoke about the importance of the event.
“This is the only event that breaks away from the Irish and Italian cultures,” Bohorquez said. “It’s one of the fewer cultural events on campus that celebrates minorities.”
The night lasted from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m., serving food such as fried plantains, rice and beans and other Latino foods, while a hired DJ played Latino music giving people the chance to show off their dance moves.
People continued to pour in to absorb the culture and enjoy the social aspect of the evening. Attendees moved from table to table to engage in multiple conversations, and then to the dance floor, and snapped silly pictures with friends in the provided photo booth.
Many international students were also present at Latino Fest. One student, sophomore Daisuke Kurofhima, is from Japan and came to Latinofest to enjoy the Latino culture through his taste buds. Kurofhima attended Latinofest last year as well.
“Last year they had so much good food, and this year they had so much good food,” Kurofhima said.
Syed Ali, from Pakistan, also shared his reason for attending.
“[This is] a great opportunity to socialize,” adding that he wanted to come because it was “a gathering and event for our school.”
Pride in being a Jasper as well as celebrating the culture were both an emphasis for Latinofest.
With Bohorquez being a senior and the founder of the Fuerza Latina at Manhattan College, he hopes Latinofest won’t end upon his graduation.
“As I look at the crowd, I hope they expand on the concept I’ve brought,” Bohorquez said.