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Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Life + Arts

Organization brings Hispanic flair to Cougar community

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One of the goals of the Spanish Culture and Language Association is for students to improve their Spanish, said primary student officer Edgar Vargas. The club is currently working on their Dia de los Muertos showcase on Thursday. | Kayla Stewart/The Daily Cougar

The Spanish Culture and Language Association was established by three doctorate students, Edgar Vargas, Yolanda Carrillo and Rusquin Chadez, who have developed SCLA throughout the last two years.

SCLA secondary student officer Chadez was born in Holguín, Cuba and is a second year graduate student studying Hispanic literature, and primary student officer Vargas — who was born in Bucaramanga, Colombia — is a Hispanic linguistics third year graduate student.

“This semester, we are focusing on volunteering in different institutions in the southeast part of Houston,” Vargas said.

Several members have volunteered at nearby facilities that offer assistance to Spanish speakers struggling to learn English.

“It is a great way to make new friends and contribute to the community,” said English literature senior Stephen Doiron, SCLA’s secretary.

The group is preparing to host a guest lecture on Thursday.

“We are inviting Dr. Guillermo De Los Reyes, associate professor of Latin American culture and literature, to speak about El Dia de los Muertos,” Vargas said.

The leaders try to give a theme for their meetings to offer something more than the traditional meeting style.

“Although a typical meeting is more of a group conversation, we like to choose different topics to discuss, like a specific member’s culture in their home country or architecture, festivals and food,” Doiron said.

Doiron became involved with SCLA during an introductory Spanish course.

He said a recent benefit of joining SCLA was getting the “nerve” to live in Mexico for five weeks this summer.

“I say nerve because picking away at another language while safely cocooned in your own tongue is one thing; going to a place where almost no one speaks English is another,” Doiron said.

He described his experience as life-changing.

“I returned to Houston with the commitment to stay involved in the language and learn even more of the many cultures that use it,” Doiron said.

SCLA is proud to be participating in Hispanic Heritage Day on Thursday. A table will be set up to promote the association at the women’s soccer match between UH and the University of Cincinnati.

“Our big event on the horizon, still in the early stages of planning, is a mixer for students who are native Spanish speakers as a way to expand our membership from primarily Spanish learners,” Doiron said.

The next meeting is from noon to 1 p.m. Thursday in Agnes Arnold Hall Room 444.

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