En El Foco 2018



Chapter Pi Rho/Tau of Ohio was established at Ohio University, Athens, Ohio by Spanish professor Abelardo Moncayo in the 1980s. Since that time, the chapter has maintained active status and held one or two initiation ceremonies per year. In Spring 2016, in addition to the initiation ceremonies, the then officers organized the event El español en tu futuro in which they invited five speakers to talk about how they had used Spanish beyond college in their careers and lives. The event was well-attended by students of different backgrounds, including Spanish majors and minors. In April 2016, the newly appointed adviser, Dr. Ashwini Ganeshan, and the newly elected officers, President Emiley Adams, Vice President Louisa Oswald, Secretary Melody Weary, Treasurer Katherine Broughton, and Social Media Manager Zach Rudy, took inspiration from the success of the El español en tu futuro event, and beginning in Fall 2017, they worked together to significantly increase the on campus presence and activities of Sigma Delta Pi in order to share their passion for Spanish beyond the Department of Modern Languages.

First, the officers established an online presence for the chapter by posting and maintaining current information on the Department of Modern Languages website, by creating an official account with the university’s student organization office, and by opening and regularly updating social media accounts on Facebook and Twitter. The officers also created an attractive brochure with relevant information about the chapter to be distributed in classes and events around the campus to recruit new members and to increase the chapter’s visibility.

Next, the officers organized a bake sale and sold Día de los Muertos t-shirts to fundraise for the hispanophile events planned for the 2017-2018 year.  Over the course of the academic year, the officers organized/co-organized a number of activities such as a two-day documentary screening, a tertulia with Mexican hot chocolate, the XXII Annual Spanish and Latin-American Colloquium, the musical production Tres Vidas, and a game night in Spanish.

Our chapter would like to highlight three of the bigger events organized – the documentary screening, the XXII Annual Spanish and Latin-American Colloquium, and the musical production Tres Vidas. The diaspora of the Hispanic and Latino worlds is captured in these events; the documentary screening features the Latinx community in the US, the colloquium underlined the importance of Spanish in our day-to-day lives, and the Tres Vidas performance brings out the diversity of Latin America through the arts. Our chapter also believes that these three events represent the essence of our mission to spread our love of all things hispanophile beyond the department and across the university. Overall, these events emphasize the relevance of Hispanic studies in our current world and not only benefitted students in Spanish but also in International Studies, Communication, Business, Medicine, and many others.

For the documentary series, officers chose to screen the documentary The graduates/Los graduados, a series by Mexican-American director Bernardo Ruiz. The series follows the life of six undocumented high school students that all dream of going to university. It is filmed through a first-hand perspective and also includes commentary from the students’ families, teachers and educators, community leaders, and several known Latinxs such as, actor Wilmer Valderrama, writer Angie Cruz, San Antonio’s mayor Julian Castro, among others. The topic of the documentary series is a burning current issue in the U.S. and the screening allowed students to engage in a dialogue about the challenges and experiences of undocumented people in this country who make up the future of America.

The XXII Annual Spanish and Latin-American Colloquium, co-organized with the Department of Modern Languages, was the biggest academic event the chapter took part in. Officers and members of Sigma Delta Pi attended the 3-day colloquium whose theme was Chronicling the Next Sentence: The Nuances of Translation and Interpreting. Chapter Pi Rho/Tau of Ohio also funded the lodging for the invited speakers from Kent State University for the colloquium. The colloquium connected students with professionals in the ‘real’ world that use their knowledge of foreign languages to help improve society through their work as interpreters and translators. The event was beneficial to students because translation is an ever-growing field. In fact, there is a great need for translators in Ohio and in other states of the US as well. Translation is a real and viable field for careers for all majors in the Department of Modern Languages. Additionally, translation is an absolutely necessary skill in today’s global market where interactions between individuals, companies, institutions, and governments happens on a daily basis. Good and effective translation minimizes misunderstandings and aids in global understanding. Students at Ohio University got the opportunity to learn more about translation from experts in the field through this well-attended event.

The next event organized in collaboration with the Women’s Center at Ohio University was the performance of Tres Vidas, a chamber music theater work including an actress, cello, piano, & percussion. The performance celebrates and honors the lives of three Latina women: the Mexican painter Frida Kahlo, the Salvadorian peasant activist Rufina Amaya, and the Argentine poet Alfonsina Storni. The storylines explore Frida Kahlo’s impassioned relationship with her partner Diego Rivera, Rufina Amaya’s survival of the devastating massacre at El Mozote and Alfonsina Storni’s challenges throughout her life. Tres Vidas appeals to audiences across all gender and ethnic spectrums. The event was brought to the university as part of the International Women’s Day celebrations and it was beneficial to students of Ohio University is several tangible and intangible ways. The event aided in the intellectual and personal development of all attendees, it promoted the collegiate experience of integrating learning and living, and it addressed societal issues through creative activity. The arts have transformative power on society and on individual lives and Tres Vidas was a fitting example of this.

Other than these successful events, the officers also organized two initiation ceremonies, one in the fall and the other in the spring and initiated 22 members to chapter Pi Rho/Tau of Ohio. The academic year 2017-2018 concluded with the election of new officers for the post of President and Vice President for the year 2018-2019. The new officers are President Carlye Stevens and Vice President Paige Wilson. Secretary Melody Weary and Treasurer Katherine Broughton were reelected for another term.

This academic year 2018-2019, the chapter was delighted and honored to receive the Phoenix Award as well as to be named an Honor chapter. The current officers are grateful to the previous officers for exceeding expectations and setting the bar for excellence in organizing hispanophile events at Ohio University. With this recognition in hand and with heightened motivation, the current officers are already actively preparing for events for this academic year, such as the fall initiation ceremony in which 11 new members will be initiated, the performance of El merolico by EFE Tres (a Mexican theater company), a Día de los Muertos bread making competition, the XXIII Annual Spanish and Latin-American Colloquium, and many more.

En El Foco