Photo courtesy of The Chaparral. College of the Desert Spanish students next to their Dia De los Muertos altar.
BY ALEXANDRO ZATARAIN
The College of the Desert main campus in Palm Desert was treated to colorful papel picado, a mariachi and some sweet cookies on Oct. 30, thanks to the Spanish Department and Office of Student Life.
With the guidance of Spanish professors Pilar Agudelo and Teresa Moulin, students showcased various altares (Spanish for altars), during Dia de los Muertos, a day where you pay homage to those who have passed. This event has typically taken place around Oct. 31 and Nov. 2, the days in which the Mexican holiday occurs.
“It began with a few of the students clubs working with the Foreign Language department. It was later taken up by the Dept. of Spanish. It was already happening when Professor Agudelo and myself started working for the college,” Moulin stated.
She continued, “We talk about this celebration in class throughout the course of various weeks for them to obtain a clear idea and sense of what this celebration is about.”
The COD student body is made up primarily of Hispanic and Hispanic-American students, 73.77%, according to College of the Desert’s Institutional Research, a large reason as to why the event is put together.
Moulin added, “It is significant because it allows us to appreciate the value and importance Mexican and Mexican-Americans place on their ancestors.”
Students Emiliano Villalobos and Russell Ryan worked on the project together for Moulin’s class. Their alter paid homage to Roberto Gómez Bolaños, otherwise known as Chespirito. The Mexican actor was widely known to Hispanic audiences for his roles as El Chavo del Ocho and El Chapulin Colorado.
In addition to the nearly two dozen student-made altares on display, there was an appearance by local group Mariachi Serenata Mexicana that garnered the attention of students walking around campus with classic hits like Vicente Fernandez’s Volver, Volver and Rocio Durcal’s Amor Eterno.
Other student groups took part in the event, with culinary students providing themed cookies and KCOD playing music.
The support from the college is what makes the event a success according to Agudelo and Moulin.”We are very grateful for the support the college and the students give us in putting together this event. Especially the students, without them, this event cannot happen,” said Moulin.