Spanish Club Returns and Revamps after Two-Year Hiatus

Juniors and seniors at Ramapo College may remember a different kind of Spanish Club before the one that was recently approved by SGA. After the spring 2011 semester, the Spanish Club went inactive, never returning in the fall. Various reasons for the inactivity, including a graduating president, were cited by the new Spanish Club’s members.

The current Spanish Club, which was approved by SGA on March 5, did not reach its approval easily, though. The executive board, made up of President Emily Gang, Vice President Stephanie Parker, Treasurer Caitlin Vogel and Philanthropy Officer Colleen Moran, met while taking Spanish classes last spring. Looking for ways to get help with homework outside of class, attend more Spanish events for CEC and meet other Spanish majors and minors, the group of students met with Professor Paula Straile-Costa, who became an adviser to help them bring the Spanish Club back. Recreating the club and getting it off the ground proved to take a little longer than anyone had imagined.

“I got involved by talking to Stephanie [Parker] because she asked me during a class if I was interested. I was very interested since I am a Spanish language studies major, so I decided to help her and Professor Straile-Costa get the club off the ground,” Gang said.

With Straile-Costa as their adviser, the students began planning in the spring 2012 semester by creating a constitution and holding interest meetings but did not garner enough members to secure the club with SGA before the semester ended. The fall 2012 semester also presented some obstacles. While the club had a constitution, held interest meetings and gained several members to be considered for club approval by SGA, the students were told that they should try again the following semester, because they would have trouble allocating money from Student Affairs Revenue Management.

The club had more luck this spring, though. After having a spot at club fair, holding interest meetings, recruiting members, approving a final constitution and presenting to SGA, the club was approved.

“Having a Spanish club is important to me because it creates an opportunity for Spanish language learners to get together and practice using the language,” Gang said.

The club’s main goals are to help students improve their Spanish fluency in speaking, reading and writing, to allow students to explore Spanish cultures and give them opportunities to volunteer and put their skills to use. Gang and Parker said the club’s first trip will be to House on the Hill Day Care Center on April 12, where students will be helping the Spanish-speaking teachers in each classroom, working with the children and assisting the teachers.

The club’s general meetings will allow students time to work on homework, converse in Spanish with each other and have grammar and composition workshops.

“It creates a sense of community for those that enjoy speaking Spanish and for those majoring in Spanish. My one aspiration is to find a credible speaker to present for the club-perhaps a local poet or author,” Vogel said.

The Spanish Club’s philanthropy projects are House on the Hill Day Care Center in Goshen, N.Y. and Grupo Cajolá. House on the Hill is part of the Head Start program, made up primarily of Spanish-speaking children from families of migrant workers. The club’s second philanthropy, Grupo Cajolá, is a non-profit organization that works on creating opportunities for Guatemalan immigrants and their families. The Spanish Club hopes to form a partnership with Ramapo’s business club Enactus and Grupo Cajolá, where students can act as translators during fair trade business projects with native Spanish speakers.

Students may have also attended the Roukema Center’s “conversation hours” this semester, which the Spanish Club encourages all Spanish majors and minors to attend.

Other possible events the Spanish Club plans to host include movie screenings, nights out at Spanish restaurants and clubs and a possible salsa-dancing workshop.

“We’ll be hosting events and trips and getting involved in community service that will allow us to have fun while experiencing Hispanic culture,” Gang said.

With the revived club’s first semester halfway through, the officers have high hopes for its future.

“I hope that with this new club, we will be able to facilitate more conversation hours and study help. Over time, I would like to see our members create strong ties and support with our faculty. This interaction is extremely important for the success of our collective group and the individual student,” Vogel said.

Ramapo students can add “Spanish Club Ramapo” as their friend on Facebook to keep updated on general meetings, events and opportunities to get involved. General meetings alternate between 12 p.m. and 8 p.m. every Thursday in A103 or A102. Today’s meeting will be held in A102 at 8 p.m. Students can also email to join the club or ask any questions.