“Salsa Dos” Invites Rowan Students for Fresh Food and Dancing

Fresh Ingredients provided by the Rowan Environmental Action League for the event’s Salsa Making. Tomatoes, some of which are from the community garden, onions, cucumbers, cilantro, jalapeno peppers, limes, and chips were all available for students to create their own, one of a kind, salsa.- Photo / Madison Miller

On Thursday, Oct. 13, the United Latinos Association (ULA) and Rowan Environmental Action League (REAL) came together to host a “Salsa Dos” event. Located in Discovery Hall, Rowan students were able to come together for food, friendship and dance.

The event started off with salsa dancing led by ULA President Cisley Calva where participants learned what she deemed the six basic steps of salsa.

When asked why she decided to teach salsa dancing, Calva said, “I’m the president of ULA and they were like we need some basic help, some basic learning and I was like why not?”

Calva, who is Ecuadorian, has a history with salsa. Her Puerto Rican relatives back home in Newark taught it to her.

“I learned [salsa] back home in Newark. We’re very diverse in Newark. Puerto Rico is mainly salsa. They dance salsa, that’s the origin,” Calva said.

After working up an appetite with all of the dancing, students were able to make their own plate of salsa using fresh ingredients, some of which were pulled straight from REAL’s new garden located on campus.

“We are advertising the fact that we have a community garden right outside of Edgewood Apartments. We have tomatoes growing there all throughout the summer and even some now, so some of the tomatoes we used at the event are from the garden.” REAL President Aarushi Gupta said.

When asked about their reason for collaborating with ULA, Gupta said, “We got together because we really feel that it’s important that people have cultural ties to fresh food availability.”

There is no shortage of fresh food on Rowan’s campus either, as food from the garden and from Rowan President Ali Houshmand’s farm are available to students at no cost.

“We do maintain the garden ourselves and whatever excess produce we have gets donated to the SHOP. They stock our produce, as well as the produce from Houshmand’s Farm, and we just think it’s important that people know that it exists and it’s a resource that you can use,” said Gupta.

Shirley Celi Landeo, head of ULA public relations, also commented on the reasons for the collaboration, expressing the club’s prerogative to do more for Hispanic heritage awareness due to it being Hispanic heritage month.

“When we were given the opportunity to have this close bonding, we decided it would be a great idea to do it, especially since we are coming back from post-COVID,” Landeo said.

Both ULA and REAL worked hard to bring people together through the dancing and making of salsa to not only celebrate Hispanic culture but to inform students about all of the resources they have on campus through both clubs.

The clubs’ efforts do not stop there. ULA just hosted a Noche de Bachata night on Tuesday, Oct. 18, with many more events to come. In addition, REAL will be hosting a beach clean-up trip on Saturday, Oct. 22, with Clean Ocean Action in the Atlantic City area, and all Rowan students are welcome to attend.

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