El Parnaso—Preserving culture since 1928

(11-02-2011)

By: Mariah Pepe

Some of the first Europeans to settle the San Luis Valley were the descendants of Spanish conquistadors. Paying tribute to the Hispanic influence, Adams State College established a Spanish Club, originally called "Las Voces del Calle" in November of 1928.

In 1935, the group adopted the name "El Parnaso" to recognize the literary organization of Miguel Cervantes, a prominent Chicano writer.

As one of the oldest and most historical organizations on campus, El Parnaso serves the Adams State community as a window into the Spanish culture; it preserves both language and heritage in an academic setting.

Recently, the club hosted a Dia de los Muertos celebration where members of the community and Adams State students and staff were invited to participate in traditional activities, such as painting sugar skulls and viewing an altar. The event taught people “another way to remember the dead”, said Dr. Eva Rayas-Solis, professor of Spanish, , the group’s advisor.

However, the most prominent cultural event sponsored by El Parnaso is Pan American Day. Students from high schools in the San Luis Valley are invited to participate in 16 competitions about Hispanic culture and language. Taking place the second and third Thursday of April, the competitions highlight the prominence of Hispanic heritage in the community.

El Parnaso is additionally a vital member of the community due to its participation in various volunteer activities. Last year, the group helped paint classrooms at Sacred Heart Church, and participated in ASC Cares Day. The group is currently pursuing an opportunity to teach English at La Puente.

Angelita Ramirez, El Parnaso’s Secretary, says that the group provides her with a sense of community and an opportunity to get to know other people. Members are from all different parts of Mexico, Colombia, or they are from the United States but want to learn about the culture. “This diversity mixes together and allows us to expand our experience because even from Colorado to New Mexico, the Hispanic cultures have very different influences.”

Overall, the group is mainly composed of Spanish majors and minors, but all people are welcome to join El Parnaso, whether they speak Spanish or not. It is an opportunity to pursue the language, culture, and to contribute to the Alamosa community. “This club is a great way for people from Hispanic backgrounds to preserve the language and culture that was lost to our grandparents generation,” says Ramirez.

The club meets every Tuesday at 12:15 AM in Evans 111.