The Spanish and Latino Student Association (SALSA) at UR celebrated its 36th annual Tropicana Dinner this past Friday evening. This year’s theme, “Deseos cumplidos” (Fulfilled Wishes), was promoted as a way to showcase dreams realized and hopes fulfilled within the University’s Latinx community.
As part of the Tropicana Dinner, SALSA utilized contributions of small businesses such as El Latino and Alma de Mexico and the vibrant Latin alumni community in both the Greater Rochester area and UR. The event, filled with inspiring speakers, captivating performances, and lively dances, provided a platform for showcasing the rich Latino culture that defines the Rochester community.
Recognizing the importance of the Latino alumni community, the Tropicana Dinner provided a platform for past graduates to reconnect and share their success stories. This sense of unity and continuity underscores the enduring spirit of SALSA and the lasting impact it has on the lives of its members.
The event brought together a diverse array of talents, with a fusion of music, dance, and heartfelt stories.
Sophomore Jefferson Turcios took the stage and shared his personal journey. His experiences shed light on the challenges and triumphs associated with migration. Turcios emphasized the enduring spirit of “Si se puede” (Yes, we can), a mantra that has become emblematic of determination and resilience within the Latinx community.
Another speaker was Arturo Pagan, a UR alumnus who overcame many obstacles through his collegiate experiences after the passing of his father, emphasizing resilience as a cornerstone of achievement.
“I loved listening to [Pagan’s] story because it shows the struggles that many of us have to deal with when we come to another country,” said sophomore Samantha Ramirez. “It served as a good reminder that no matter the obstacles we face, we are stronger than we think we are.”
The night celebrated the skills of three student organizations: Alma De Mexico, a community-oriented performance art ensemble from Rochester; SALSEROS, a dance troupe committed to promoting cultural and social expression through dance; and Xclusive, the sole non-Greek affiliated step team on campus, with their high-energy and precision step routines.
“The performances “ate down” and it really showed diversity with hip hop and bachata. Seeing different cultures incorporated in one night was just beautiful,” said first year Maria Sanni. “The fact that not everybody is part of that culture and still seeing all these cultures come together, it just made the environment a welcoming one.”
SALSA’s 36th annual Tropicana Dinner showcased Latinidad, and celebrated the vibrant Latinx community within the Greater Rochester area.
Shortly after the end of this event, SALSA threw an after-party dance at The Wok, featuring DJ Ozzy. The event invited all undergraduates to immerse themselves in the vibrant music that embodies the Latinx culture.
“This was my first time attending the after party of Tropicana and the music did not disappoint me,” said Ramirez. “For someone who loves to dance and represent my culture through the arts of dancing, it definitely felt like the perfect end for such an amazing night.”