Photo by Sho Kitamura

Food, humor, dance and song were featured throughout the evening of April 5, at the Taste of Latin America event in the Student Center ballroom. The two hour event, hosted by The Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (GT-SHPE), saw attendance of more than 300, a strong showing for the event.

“I think it’s been a total success. We’ve got an excellent turnout and we’ll definitely do it next year,” said Luis Hasbun, executive treasurer of SHPE and third-year CE student.

The event began with a wide array of food choices from Latin America. Meals from different countries included pork, rice, chicharrones, yucca frita, empenadas, sopitos and quesadillas, among other things. Deserts like arroz con leche were served. The food, served by volunteers, was an interesting and tasty sample of Hispanic cuisine.

Student performances on stage followed the food tasting. A skit that revolved around Tech students travelling to Latin America incorporated a number of dance and music acts.

More than a dozen actors guided the audience through aspects of Hispanic culture in a skit that centered on one misinformed character’s ‘Taco-Bell’ expectations of Latin America. As the skit progressed, his Hispanic friends help him realize that Latin American culture is a much larger and diverse thing than he expected.

The skit is was not without its funny moments, most notably one which involved a smothering mother.

Simon Lapscher, Gabriel Messingher, Shai Messingher and Gian Marco di Carlo performed musical interludes throughout the skit, which received a very positive response from the audience.

A number of members also performed in a few dancing scenes. In addition, members from GT Salsa Club also performed.

Many found the evening a great start to what will hopefully be an annual event.

“I think it went well, really,” said Jorge Junco, one of the actors in the event, who did not expect such a large turnout for the event.

“I think it was great,” said Nicole Cohen, a second-year IE major and one of the organizers of Taste of Latin America, “It took a lot of work. We had to talk to a lot of people. All the actors put a lot of time into this but in the end I think it was a really good job.”

“I enjoyed the singing,” said Eran Mordel, president of the undergraduate student body. “I thought that it had a lot of heart in it. I think it showed a lot of the culture and when the audience started participating, how much they’re all together about it.”
Taste of Latin America, held for the first time by The Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers, was inspired by similar events on campus like Taste of Africa.

“Last year I attended Taste of Africa and I really enjoyed it and I thought the Hispanics on campus don’t have an event that showcases their own culture,” said Emilie Wurmser, one of the members on the main committee who, along with Alexanda Ojeda, organized Taste of Latin America.

The Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers hosts many events throughout the year for members to develop professionally and academically. Events like Taste of Latin America are unique in that they give students an opportunity to show their talents.

“This was one of our few events where it was more about getting to know the other members, making sure that we’re more united and an event where they can share with the rest of the campus what they could do and what their culture is like,” Wurmser said.

Taste of Latin America gives SHPE a way to reach out to potential members and give Tech students a chance to experience another culture.

“I thought everyone who participated and attended had a lot of fun,” Wurmser said. “We’re hoping to make this a new tradition and an annual event that will bigger and better.”