By Kalli Colacino
A mix of silver and black table cloths sprinkled with sparkly stars covered the tables under the festive string lights of the Gala De La Raza on Friday, Oct. 5 in the Decker Social Place.
Union Latina hosted the gala to embrace diversity on campus. Students dressed for the occasion in shimmering dresses and formal dress shirts. The night was filled with booming music, elegant dancing and delicious food.
Jennifer Largo, a junior early childhood education and biology double major and Union Latina e-board member, organized the event. She emphasized the role the gala plays in fostering a sense of unity on campus.
“Gala De La Raza has been going on for many years,” Largo said.
As the room quickly filled with people, the DJ played catchy music and students took to the dance floor. When students weren’t on the dance floor, they gathered at their tables to watch a variety of performances with upbeat tempos that had them dancing in their seats.
The first performance of the night was by Más Flow, a dance team from Princeton University. They stole the stage with a mixture of Salsa, Merengue and Bachata dancing. The crowd clapped wildly when the performance concluded.
Más Flow’s routine was followed up by a performance from Rutgers Bachata Club, of Rutgers University-New Brunswick. The group’s graceful dancing had the crowd sitting on the edge of their chairs, eager to see more.
The College’s own multicultural dance group, Ritmo Latino, took the stage and amazed the audience with sharp Bachata dance moves. This style of dance, which originates from the Dominican Republic, was well-received by the crowd.
Students took a break from dancing to enjoy dinner, which included empanadas and rice, among other options.
Sara Gonzalez, a freshman English and elementary education double major, attended the gala as a member of Union Latina, hoping to get “the TCNJ community involved.”
The event allowed people to socialize while becoming more socially aware and embrace the vast amount of cultural differences between students on campus.
Students spent the rest of the night dancing, taking photos in the photo booth and enjoying the food and beverages served, all while embracing Latinx culture.