In honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, Sigma Lambda Gamma National Sorority INC. and Sigma Lambda Beta National Fraternity INC. hosted the event Salsa Under The Stars at the CFE Arena. The event, which took place on September 16, was a night full of Salsa and Bachata dance lessons, free food, raffles and guest speakers.

Javon Miller, the vice president of Sigma Lambda Beta National Fraternity INC., says their fraternity is committed to advancing cultural awareness and service amongst the UCF community.

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“We chose to host the event because we felt that it could educate the community on Hispanic culture and tradition in a fun and creative way,” Miller said.

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Although the atmosphere at the event, which was attended by approximately 60 students, was light and upbeat, two speakers from Teach for America also discussed important topics. Lovelyne Toussaint and Ameila Klung spoke about education inequaltiies in the Latino community.

According to Raquel Perodin, Vice President of Sigma Lambda Gamma National Sorority INC., at the event she learned that 87 percent of Latinos believe that getting an adequate education is essential. However, less than 50 percent of them go on to achieve one. She says students can do their part to help by joining the Corps or voting in good educational leaders into our school systems.

There was also a GRE Kaplan raffle at the event, which was entered by about 50 students. “The winner was a UCF student named Ariana Rivera. She was extremely excited and overjoyed to find out she won this free course, which is usually very expensive,” Perodin said.

Lechonera Latina provided free food; an assortment of Spanish rice, pork, chicken and sweet plantains were available to students. There were also performers from Latin Rhythm, a dance club at UCF, and dance lessons by Professor Carl Free. Professor Free, or as many students call him “El Capitan,” teaches dance classes at UCF and has been dancing professionally for many years, according to Perodin.

Overall the event was a success according to both Perodin and Miller. Miller said the event had an open-minded atmosphere that fostered growth within everyone there.

“I am very happy about how everything went,” says Perodin. “It was great to see everyone having lots of fun dancing and enjoying themselves. It makes us proud to host this event and see smiles on everyone’s faces.”