Taste of Latin America returns to WKU

Whitney Allen

This Saturday, the Hispanic Organization for the Promotion of Education (HOPE) and the Hilltoppers Organization for Latin America Students (HOLAS) will bring Bowling Green’s Latino culture to life with the 4th annual Taste of Latin America.

A Taste of Latin America will be held at 6 p.m. in the UAW Banquet Hall.

In previous years, HOLAS has volunteered at the event, but for the first time HOLAS will be partnering with HOPE to host the event this year. The proceeds will go to both organizations.

Valeria Carlin is a former HOLAS president and is now the president of HOPE.

“This is our annual fundraiser night that we do every year to raise funds to provide scholarships to Hispanic students in south central Kentucky,” Carlin said. “This year we decided to do it in combination with WKU HOLAS.”

HOPE’s mission is to encourage middle and high school students to pursue higher education. Last year, HOPE awarded three scholarships at this event.

The scholarships go to students that will either be attending WKU or Southern Kentucky Technical Community College (SKYCTC).

Nashville, Tenn., sophomore Jonny Garcia is HOLA’s president and was a recipient of one of the HOPE scholarships last year.

“Hopefully with this money we’re also going to start an HOLAS scholarship probably for next year,” Garcia said, adding that they are hoping to award more HOPE scholarships this year.

The evening will begin with a three-course meal served by HOLAS members. The main dish will be a Colombian dish, bandeja paisa, provided by a catering group from Nashville. HOLAS members and volunteers will be making the appetizers and desserts.

There will be several performances throughout the evening. There will be a group dance, performances of different Latin American dances, salsa lessons, singing and an open dance floor to end the night.

There will also be a brief tribute to David Coffey. The professor, who recently passed away, was a major donor to the HOPE scholarships.

Julie Rivas is the chair of the entertainment committee and has helped plan this year’s event.

“This will be a great cause,” Rivas said. “People will have lots of fun, learn a little about our culture, and promote higher education which is our main goal.”

Garcia and Carlin both said they hope the WKU faculty and students that attend this event will see HOLAS’ presence on campus.

“We want them to take some information about the culture, the food and the people. Also to enjoy themselves and learn more about both of our organizations,” Carlin said.

Tickets are $25 per person or $45 per couple. WKU students can attend for $15.