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The Tufts Daily
Where you read it first | Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Tufts Mexican Culture Club fosters an inclusive community that celebrates culture, traditions

The newly-formed culture club reflects on the upcoming Dia de los Muertos event and their future.

Tufts Mexican Culture Club

The Tufts Mexican Culture Club pictured in the Latinx Center.

Say hello to the newest culture club on campus: The Tufts Mexican Culture Club. The club, which formed at the start of this semester, features 13 members who celebrate and share Mexican culture with the Tufts community.

Sophomore Paul Galvan, president of the Tufts Mexican Culture Club, emphasized the importance of sharing Mexican culture both on and off campus.

“It’s teaching the people that are not aware of the Mexican culture, traditions … and then teaching people around us, teach[ing] it to friends, families … and I feel like it’s a good community to be in,” he said.

Galvan went on to explain that many of the members of the club come from places that have large Hispanic populations, and that the club hopes to recreate this cultural community at Tufts.

I think that … a lot of us are not coming from … predominantly white places. … So we want to, in a way, recreate that,” he said.

Sophomore Ana Muñiz Rodriguez, co-secretary of the Tufts Mexican Club, reflected on her community at home and on finding a cultural community at Tufts.

“I moved to the United States from Mexico City when I was 10 years old, and I moved to … Miami so everyone spoke Spanish. … I never had a struggle with finding my identity,” Muñiz Rodriguez said. “ALAS [Association of Latin American Students] does a good job in trying to include people of all different Latine identities, but since there’s so many nuances within Latine identities, it’s really hard to find a community of people like you.”

Junior Paola Muñoz, publicity liaison for the Tufts Mexican Culture Club, said that a goal of the club is to promote a collaboration of all cultures on campus.

“We also want a conglomeration of just all cultures on campus. ALAS being such a big club, it’s hard for them to do that with the smaller clubs on campus, like the smaller identities,” she said.

Muñoz added that the club has many collaborations lined up down the line with other cultural groups on campus, such as the Black Student Union, the Arab Student Association, the Chinese Students Association, the Caribbean Student Organization and the Korean Students Association.

The Tufts Mexican Culture Club is also currently in the process of being recognized by the TCU Judiciary.

“You have to get TCU recognized and then they provide the funding. We are in the process of getting TCU recognized and hopefully getting funding,” Muñiz Rodriguez said.

Galvan added that the Tufts Mexican Culture Club has a strong executive board and a lot of momentum as they prepare for upcoming and future events.

The Tufts Mexican Culture Club’s first event will be in honor of Dia de los Muertos, also known as Day of the Dead. The event will take place on Friday from 6–8 p.m. at the Tufts Latinx Center.

Muñoz explained that Dia de los Muertos is a celebration of the people that have passed away in your life, and that there are many traditions that are observed during the holiday.

“You set up an altar of sorts and you have specific things so there’s some cempasúchil (marigold) [which] are said to ground the people from the after life here. There’s salt to connect with other world, there’s incense, there’s water [and] there’s ofrendas (offerings),” she said.

Muñoz added that Dia de los Muertos starts in October and elaborated on the intentions of the club’s celebration.

“We want to set up a place where death is not feared. Death is celebrated and it’s a place to connect with your loved ones after they’ve passed,” Muñoz said.

Muñiz Rodriguez spoke further on creating a feeling of community, and said that the club wants their Dia de los Muertos event to serve as a space for Tufts students to come together and reflect on their pasts.

“We wanted to have an event that makes it accurate for what the Mexican celebration of Day of the Dead is,” Muñiz Rodriguez said. “And just provide a safe space for people who used to celebrate this at home and can’t celebrate at college, to be able to gather together because that’s what the holiday is. It’s about gathering and celebration and just thinking about your past.”

The Dia de los Muertos event will feature many Mexican traditions, from making ofrendas, offerings placed in a home altar, to papel picado, traditional decorations made from tissue paper. There will also be traditional Mexican foods provided such as atole, a traditional Mexican drink, and arroz con leche.

She said another goal of the event is to recall the history of Dia de los Muertos, and to teach those in attendance about the traditions.

“A lot of it has indigenous roots,” Muñoz said. “We want to go over history as well … and [students to] go through [the event] learning.” 

There will also be the opportunity for students to send in pictures that they would like to have put on the altar.

The Tufts Mexican Culture Club has already received 40 RSVPs for the event, and through it, they hope to gain more traction on campus.

Muñiz Rodriguez recommended that interested students check out the Tufts Mexican Culture Club Instagram account (@mexcultureclub) for upcoming events and join the e-list.

“We do have traction with other culture clubs, but not with the whole student population, which is really hard because we’re … new. So for now, we’re just trying to generate some traction with our first event,” she said. “From there, we’re hoping to spread the word about the club, and hopefully have more people join.”

Muñiz Rodriguez emphasized that this event, as well as all of the Tufts Mexican Culture Club’s events, are open to everyone.

“This is not Mexican exclusive, [and] we want Mexican culture to be shared and procured by everyone,” she affirmed. “So this event and any of our events are free to anyone that is interested. It’s purely based on wanting to share our culture and our tradition.”