S.A.L.S.A: CREATING A SAFE SPACE AT WARTBURG

JULIANA PELAEZ, TRUMPET CULTURE & DIVERSITY EDITOR

At Wartburg College, there are more than 80 clubs and organizations, according to wartburg.edu. Spanish and Latinx Student Association (SA.L.S.A.) S.A.L.SA. is a multicultural student group. The organization that is aimed toward the Hispanic community as well as others who are interested in learning more about the Hispanic culture.

“It’s basically to create a safe space for us on campus because, as a smaller, less represented group on campus, there are a lot of issues that people do not understand the way we do,” Jezel Cabrera, a fourth-year student and president of S.A.L.S.A., said. “It’s creating that space so if you want to talk about something personal or private, you can come to us.” S.A.L.S.A. officially began two years ago after being created by recent graduate Abram Hernandez.

Cabrera had a chance to be a part of SALSA during her first and second year. “I was at all the original meetings with the first executive team, so I know first hand what his [Hernandez’s] vision was. We both have similar cultural experiences,” Cabrera said.

“As being the president, I try to hold onto his vision but if there needs to be a change we’ll do it based on what the exec team and general members want to see.” Cabrera and the executive team have worked to make Hernandez’s vision of the club come to life, but with two new exec members, Cabrera has had to lead them toward it.

Joseline Rosales, a secondyear neuroscience major, and the club’s treasurer, is a new executive member. Rosales wants to focus on expressing what S.A.L.S.A. is about. “I really want S.A.L.S.A. to do more and be more of an active club in the sense that we not just do events that are in collaboration with other clubs, but do events that are just our own,” Rosales said. “I’m very proud of being Mexican and I really want to share that with the school because there is a huge lack in Latino culture here.

Wartburg’s retention rate for Hispanic Americans from fall to winter semester was 89.6%, according to Wartburg College. S.A.L.S.A. has become a safe space for the members, according to Rosales and Cabrera feel open to talk to peers with similar backgrounds. “They are a support system and I really enjoy being around other people who are Hispanic, that’s what I miss from being back home,” Rosales said.

“Being around other loud and annoying people is such a huge part of my identity, it’s what I need to stay sane. A lot of Hispanic, Latinos, Mexicans are especially known for being loud and obnoxious and I miss that.”
S.A.L.S.A. hosts many proud events, including Dia de Los Muertos, Loteria night and S.A.L.S.A. week for Cinco de Mayo.

The club plans to continue these events as well as to host additional events. “I feel like we are in college right now, which is supposed to be like an exploration of who we are as individuals, our life journey,” Rosales said. “I don’t feel like you can really explore who you are until you explore other aspects of humanity and like definitely Latino culture is a different aspect from what people normally grow up around here.”

For more information about S.A.L.S.A., contact Jezel Cabrera at jezel.cabrera@wartburg.edu or salsa@wartburg.edu

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