Meet Channel Turbides, Public Relations Officer of a Student Organization of Latinas and Latinos (SOL)!
What is your favorite part about SOL?
Honestly, it’s walking into a SOL meeting and knowing that I have built a bond with every person in the room. At a place like Grinnell, it’s meant the world to be able to have a stable community that’s treated me like family.
What is your role/position in SOL?
On paper: I am the Public Relations Officer, so I’m in charge of our social media accounts and what not… In real life: I rant on our facebook page about current events, and lend a hand wherever I can because that’s just the culture of the group.
How many years have you been a member?
Circa 1st Year!
Why did you get involved?
Because I miss home. Where I’m from everyone over-salts their food and talks over each other in the most loud and loving way possible. I went to SOL looking to find some of that… and I did!! No matter where everyone is from, because not all of us are Latino or Latin American, for some reason when the group meets I feel we create a vibe that is very unique to my experience at home– an experience that is hard to explain, but entails a great focus on openness and a passion for curiosity and learning.
What did the Latin American Festival consist of this year?
This year our set list included Grinnell students performing mostly dances from places like Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Cuba, Colombia, Brazil, Mexico, ext.We also had food and an Afro-Caribbean group come from Chicago.
I was told there was a big time performer who came, how did you make that happen?
Yes! Although I am from the Dominican Republic, I was brought up in a politically and culturally strong predominantly Puerto-Rican community in Chicago. That has been a really big part of my life, so I decided a while back, sometime in July, that I was going to do whatever was in my power to bring some of that experience to Grinnell.
The big time performers we had at Latin American Festival are called AfriCaribe, their performance for us was a mixture between the history of the Arawak (aka Taino Indians) , poetry, storytelling, drumming, and traditional dance.
What do you think the campus community who doesn’t know much about the Latin American Festival (or Latin@ heritage), should know?
That’s kind of a heavy question, because there really is a lot.
Let’s see. First, I guess I’ll open the question up a bit and say that all of campus needs to know that it’s very important that you look at Grinnell as a place to start growing and learning about the world around you. As a school, we put a lot of importance on studying abroad, which is great, but we shouldn’t forget that learning about other places should start closer to home.
As for the other part of the question, I think the campus community needs to know that there are students here that really want to share their culture, and actually work hard to do so. I hate to not be able to answer the question directly, but I can’t speak for the 23 countries (give or take) that make up Latin America and it’s culture. All I can say to campus is that they can answer that question for themselves by attending more events put on by SOL and all of the other Multicultural Groups at Grinnell.
(Editor’s Note: Check out SOL on Facebook and stay tuned for upcoming events!)