They’re back, and with a vengeance. Viva!, Lawrence University’s student organization for Hispanic culture, has big plans for their revival. At one time a very active group, Viva almost died out two years ago when most of their leadership, a contingent of seniors, graduated, leaving a void that was not easily filled by the few underclassmen who remained. However, their advisor, Spanish professor Patricia Vilches, is optimistic, enthusiastic and looking forward to an exciting year.Viva is currently comprised of about 12 students, both college and conservatory majors alike. They are looking to connect with other departments and campus organizations this year, such as the Latin American Student Organization, to host movie nights, and to intertwine various Hispanic and Latino experiences. They also hope to do more community outreach, including teaming up with Hispanics who are learning how to speak English by helping them with their language skills.
Viva’s biggest upcoming event is a celebration of Chilean poet Pablo Neruda. Neruda lived from 1904 to 1973, winning the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1971. Since this year marks the 100th anniversary of his birth, Viva is putting together a reading of poetry by Spanish and Latin American poets. Poems will be read in both Spanish and English, and background information about the writers will be shared. “Poetry isn’t of the elite,” says Vilches. All are welcome to attend; you need not be a Spanish major or minor, or be a scholar of poetry.
“Neruda is going to start this celebration [of Hispanic culture],” said Vilches. The poetry reading will be held Friday, Nov. 19, from 8-9 p.m. in the coffeehouse.