Adelante crosses t’s, dots i’s, rolls r’s

By Karintha Lowe

Everyone knows that Macalester has a certain long-standing romantic relationship with the term “multiculturalism.” While many students smilingly shake their head at Mac’s amorous wooing of diversity, others embrace the school’s emphasis on different cultures. Though Adelante! focuses on Latin American culture, its members almost all fall into the second love-struck category. One of Macalester’s most popular cultural clubs, Adelante!, focuses on raising awareness and appreciation of U.S. Latina/o culture, politics and society, both on campus and throughout the Twin Cities area. Around 25 to 30 members meet at 9 p.m. every Tuesday night in the Cultural House to discuss current issues affecting the Latin American community, as well as to plan for upcoming events. “We learn about important issues and grow from them by talking about it with each other,” said co-chair Yolanda Burckhardt ’15. “We hope to spread that learning to our community.” On October 23, Adelante! will be participating in “In the Kitchen with,” inviting anyone on campus to come cook and chat from 6-8 p.m. In collaboration with Program Board, Adelante! will present Precious Knowledge at 7:30 p.m. in Markim Hall. For the upcoming MIO Cultural Show, Adelante! members have split into dance teams and will perform salsa, merengue and pachata dances. Adelante!’s activeness on campus is one of the main reasons Burckhardt joined the club her first year. “What really stood out to me was how the club was so interested in doing something and changing something. We dove right in,” she said. Each year, Adelante! focuses on a different issue and goal. During Burckhardt’s first year, the issue was the Dream Act, a bill that would grant conditional permanent residency to undocumented residents who had graduated from a U.S. high school and would either serve in the military or attend an institution of higher education. Adelante!’s goal for the year was to have Macalester support the Dream Act as an institution as well as to have Mac’s admissions and financial aid office provide greater support for undocumented applicants. Through letters to Congress, calls to Macalester alumni, talks to classrooms and presentations to the financial aid office, Adelante! was successful in completing both goals. “Macalester now supports the act as an institution, and if you look at the admissions website, there’s now a separate page for undocumented citizens,” said Adelante!’s public relations board member Emma Ensign-Church ’15. This year Adelante!’s theme is “Faces of Latina/o,” (abbreviated [email protected]). The focus is less political and more about individual stories. “We’re incorporating current events to facilitate knowledge and discussion on what it really means to be a [email protected] or an ally,” Burckhardt said. To emphasize the individual experience of being involved with [email protected] community, the club meetings now begin with “Culture Corner.” Each week, a different member of the club will share a story, song, dance or even food relating to their own culture. “Culture corner is something that is open to all cultures, so I wanted to share something important to me with Adelante!,” said Madeline Spolin ’15, who recently brought in the traditionally Jewish bread, Challah, to Culture Corner. Spolin was inspired to join Adelante! after seeing the club’s campaign for the Dream Act. “The org has a strong role in activism particularly surrounding the dream act,” she said. “And I am really passionate about providing equal educational opportunities. “ Students, however, join Adelante! for many different reasons. Jake Speirs ’16, joined because he “wanted to be a part of the community here at college and also to raise awareness for Latin American culture and Politics.” Though Speirs does not identify as being Hispanic, “Most of my friends from home identified as Latina and I’ve always been comfortable in that culture.” Many members of Adelante! also do not identify as being [email protected] “A senior on my soccer team told me about the club,” said Ensign-Church, “She was Latina but she assured me you don’t have to be Latina to join and have fun.” Burckhardt points to Adelante!’s openness as one of the main reasons the club is so popular on campus. “One of our strengths is that now, as well as in the past, we’ve been a community that is very open to everyone.” Burckhardt explained. Speirs agreed, “Adelante! celebrates a specific culture in a fun, respective, very friendly and open way.” refresh –>