by Matthew Taylor
A flurry of rainbow colors whipped by as Cal Poly Humboldt students both old and new skated side by side across the West Gym’s floors. Outfits ranging from the mundane to the elaborate, with glitter dotting the faces of many, could be seen throughout the room.
Near the entrance of the gymnasium, two tables were draped in sarapes and decorated with marigolds, sugar skulls, and an assortment of popular Mexican candies. Behind these tables stood a large speaker and multi-colored spotlights, as well as over thirty chairs where students would fight to get the tight roller skates onto their feet.
Volunteers collected donations for the El Centro Académico Cultural de Humboldt (El Centro) ‘Graduacion Latinx’ ceremony.
“The first [Skate Night] was just a phone speaker,” Taylor Sachez, an ESM major, said whilst putting on her own skates. “Since then we’ve got a DJ and sponsor.”
El Centro is that sponsor. Under the ideas and leadership of Giovanni Guerrero, ESM major and a student staff member of the organization, this Latin-themed skate night was born. This project has been in the works since the fall semester of last year.
“I heard about HSU having skate nights,” Guerrero said. “I wanted to combine the skate night with Latin music to make it a kinda party.”
A party it certainly was. Students skated in circles around the linoleum floor, but many also danced together, swinging each other around with the momentum of their wheels.
Latin music blasted through the speakers and through the skaters’ bodies, with the DJ, known as B1g $uave, interjecting every few minutes to liven the crowd up. When he’s not spinning the tunes, B1g $uave is José Juan Rodriguez, wildlife biology major and student staff member at El Centro.
Cal Poly Humboldt students and friends Norma Francisco and Cierra Holmes heard about the drop-in skate nights through El Centro’s sponsorship.
“I would go [skating] occasionally, mainly while in middle school,” Holmes said. “I think ice skating is easier.”
“I think this is easier,” Francisco replied with a laugh. “I was nervous to come, both to skate for the first time and from being off-campus for so long.”
Both friends were able to agree on one thing though, the event was fun and had good vibes.
Kumami Jackson, a local science major, explained that he’d been skating on and off since the 3rd grade but skateboards pretty regularly.
“It’s kinda the same motion,” he said.
A few couples dotted across the room could also be seen skating together. One such couple was Jessica Ordaz, a mathematics education major, and her partner Gilberto Gamboa. He held her arm or hand all night as she attempted to learn how to skate. She was the event specialist for El Centro, but this was one of her first times doing this kind of skating.
“I’m very grateful for the people here, I want to encourage people to come out,” El Centro staffer Guerrero said nearing the end of the event. “[El Centro] is planning [other] events, Ciencia Para Todos and Cafe con Chisme.”
Ciencia Para Todos (Science for All) will be hosting the creation of their bilingual science children’s book this Friday at 3 pm in Nelson Hall 206, and community talk space Cafe con Chisme will meet on Friday, Feb. 18th at 3 pm in Nelson Hall 205.