by Austin Giles
“Language and culture can’t be separated, they’re intricately connected,” said Angela Enderberg, Spanish instructor and advisor to the Spanish club.
Enderberg, who spent part of her junior year at Western Washington University, traveling and living in Mexico, now shares her experiences and common interest with the 30 members of the club that she advises.
Started in 2007 by a student, the Spanish club promotes the language and culture of Spanish speaking countries that number over 21 across the world.
Recently the club commenced their celebration of the Day of the Dead. As tradition, they brought in pictures of lost loved ones and celebrated their lives.
In Mexico pictures of the dead are adorned among alters and candles. During the clubs remembrance, they ate traditional Mexican sweet bread decorated with a skull and cross bones and drank Mexican hot chocolate spiced with cinnamon.
“[Students] will be able to practice speaking Spanish and meet other students interested in studying the language and learning about the diverse cultures in the Spanish-speaking world,” said Enderberg. “Hopefully they will even make some new friends.”
Members of the club range in experience with the Spanish language. It is promoted to practice speaking Spanish but not mandatory.
“Spanish language and culture puts a lot of emphasis on etiquette. Even verbs are conjugated differently according to who is being spoken to,” said William Toler, vice president of the Spanish club. “In the United States courtesy and etiquette are becoming less and less important, so it’s refreshing to learn about a language and culture where respect is a priority,”
The club member’s motivation for being involved with the organization also varies. Some students have plans to either minor or major in Spanish, some are engaged by the cultural aspect and others have plans on studying abroad.
“Nothing but good can come from broadening my horizons mentally and culturally,” said Ali Brassfield, a club member. “Learning about the Spanish culture and studying the language has really felt very self-enriching, and I hope to achieve a thorough understanding of the culture and enough knowledge to speak fluently,”
“I’m halfway through Spanish 122, and though I know I’d be terrified being alone in the Spanish-speaking world, I’m pretty confident in holding simple conversations,” said Toler.
The Spanish club facilitates the interest and appreciation for Spanish culture that members collectively share. Enderberg said that this appreciation has a deeper impact if experienced in the language.
She, along with the student officers, plans the activities that the club partakes in and on this year’s docket is a Guatemalan food day.
“Food is always popular,” said Enderberg. The club has done food days in the past of Puerto Rican culture but this is a first for Guatemalan cuisine. A friend of Enderbergs, who is from Guatemala, will be cooking the food and explaining her ingredients and processes in Spanish to the club.
“I am still new to the Spanish culture,” said Ashlie Olson, president of the Spanish club. “My favorite part is the food, they make the best cookies.”
As advisor, Enderberg’s main goal is to sustain a fun learning environment for those committed to the practice and study of the Spanish language and various Hispanic cultures, she said.
The Spanish Club meets Tuesdays at 4 in LDC, 124.