The Latino Community of Utah Valley is large enough to support three dance club nights in Provo and Orem area, and at UVU, has now benefited one student who will now have a scholarship because of the Bachata Fest held on Oct. 7.
October saw a lot of success for the USALP, Unidos Saldremos Adelante, organization formerly known as the Latin American club, and even more formerly, Latinos Unidos.
On March 11, 2011 the first Bachata Fest was held to raise funds for USALP. This was the biggest fundraiser the organization had seen. After the success the dance had, USALP looked forward to holding another dance in the Fall.
Their first Bachata Fest saw 400 people, with 80 pre-sell tickets sold. The second Bachata Fest greatly exceeded the goals of the organization.
“Usually our funds haven’t been that great,” said Marcos Hernandez, co-chairman of USALP.
USALP does many things for the Latin community. Twice a week for more than a year, USALP has been visiting High Schools. These UVU students give speeches and play games with High School students. They also organize many events to promote higher education among the Latino community.
“Last year we rented Timp Lodge, a BYU owned cabin, and invited at-risk high school students to attend our Young Dreamers Conference there,” Hernandez said. “These are basically the little kids who people kind of brush off because they’re getting bad grades.”
USALP was able to pay for 86 high school students, many from Lake Ridge, to go to the Young Dreamers Conference and listen to speakers, eat and engage in activities such as laser tag.
“We paid for everything; lunch, dinner, breakfast and the speakers,” Hernandez said. “We wanted to treat neglected Latinos.”
Although higher education is lower than the USALP would hope for these students, they have seen some fruits come from their efforts. Hernandez said he has seen students from the conference at UVU.
“Two or three of those students are walking the halls of UVU already,” Hernandez said.
The High School students were invited to the Bachata Fest in an effort to give them more exposure to a university.
“We want kids to know this school is Latino friendly,” Hernandez said.
Students came to Orem from all over Utah. From Ogden to Delta, students poured into the student center and lined up. There was a line outside of the ballroom of about 60 from 10 p.m. to 12 a.m.
“We ran out of our original bracelets at 11 p.m., and by midnight I was stamping people in and people didn’t want to leave, it was 2:15 A.M. and people were still standing in the halls.”
Hernandez was surprised to see even students from Logan at the dance.
“Our university didn’t market to Utah State but five USU students came from Logan to the dance,” Hernandez said.
Hernandez and his committee made a goal of having 600 students at the event, with 300 pre sale tickets sold. After a busy evening at the door of the dance, the final count was around 950. This was much more than anticipated, and “enough money to fund our entire academic year”, Hernandez said.
This dance not only funded the year for USALP, the Bachata Fest, in working with the International Center was able to help create a scholarship. One student from Latin America will now be able to come to UVU with tuition paid for because of this event. Everyone involved was happy with the results of the event.
“Bachata fest will happen next semester,” Hernandez said.
By Tiffany Thatcher
Asst. News Editor