OU’s Colombian Student Association will celebrate its 20th anniversary of the Colombian Cultural Night event with a drive-in at the Lloyd Noble Center parking lot.
The association’s faculty advisor Andres Gonzalez said the event will incorporate traditional Colombian dances, food and contests. Attendees will be able to see the pre-recorded performances on large screens from their cars and participate in the contests using social media.
This year’s event is titled "Where the Mountains Reach the Sky," a theme centered around Colombia’s Andean region. Gonzalez said the region is known for its cultural and ethnic diversity and for being one of the main producers and exporters of coffee, flowers and emeralds in the world.
“In this event, students will perform different dances that emphasize the region’s multicultural roots and Colombian identity,” Gonzalez said. “We are really happy to showcase all the beauty that comes whenever we embrace that diversity and promote the integration of different cultures.”
Members of the Colombian Student Association and a group of children, Gonzalez said, will perform dances from different parts of the region, including San Juanero, Carranga, Pasillo and Reggaeton. He said attendees will be able to experience the influence of African, Indigenous and European rhythms on the dances.
Volunteers from the Colombian Student Association will distribute food boxes to each car to maintain COVID-19 safety protocols. The boxes will contain beef, chicken or vegetarian arepas, which are traditional Colombian corn patties from the Andean region, Gonzalez said.
Gonzalez said there will be a pre-recorded video about the 20 years of the association which will talk about the association’s impact at OU and its notable alumni’s impact in society.
A master of ceremonies will be in charge of introducing the American and Colombian national anthems and the contests, which will allow members of COLSA to see if the attendees paid attention to the different explanations of the dances, Gonzalez said.
People will also have the chance to participate in a contest to choose the best photos from the Colombian Andean region. They can submit their photos using social media, and the most liked photos will be displayed live at the event for a chance to win.
“Our sponsors will sponsor the prizes which usually range from baskets with different types of foods or gifts, gift certificates to different restaurants or places to buy things, t-shirts from the Colombian Student Association and coffee that is brought directly from Colombia,” Gonzalez said.
Every year COLSA gives scholarships to deserving students at the university, based not only on their socioeconomic needs but also on their participation helping the Colombian Student Association, Gonzalez said. This year, the scholarships will be presented and awarded live at the event.
To apply for a COLSA scholarship, students must become members of the association.
The event will take place March 27. Dinner will be served at 6:30 p.m., and the cultural show will start at 8 p.m. at the Lloyd Noble Center parking lot.
Tickets, which include dinner and the show, can be purchased on the association’s website for $10 for students, $15 for general admission and free for members.
“It is not only vital to promote diversity but also inclusion to make sure that the different communities here at the university are talking to each other, learning from each other and working with each other,” Gonzalez said. “So the event is precisely to show the community that when we work together, things actually get better.”
Note: This story was updated at 11:00 a.m. March 19 to reflect the correct spelling of Colombia.