The Daughters of Corn Nicaraguan Dance Ensemble took place in Reeve Union, performing traditional Nicaraguan dances for UW Oshkosh students and faculty Wednesday.
The event was sponsored by Reeve Union Board, ESTRELLA, the University Studies Program, the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures and the Pepsi Fund.
In addition to the dance ensemble, there was a multimedia presentation showcasing the work of Compas de Nicaragua, an organization aimed at improving the health and sustainability of Nicaraguan communities. UWO has been working with Compas de Nicaragua for several years according to the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures.
UWO English professors Douglas Haynes and Mike Lueder from the University Studies Program were the ones to help set up the event.
Haynes said the group offers a special chance for students to come experience traditions other than their own.
“This is the third time they’ve been here,” Haynes said. “They offer [a] unique opportunity to learn firsthand about not only the culture of Nicaragua, but also about community development projects there and some of the socioeconomic issues that these folks live and face.”
Catherine Bryan, from the Department of Foreign Language and literatures said Haynes ties with the Nicaraguan communities have offered more opportunities for UWO students.
“Thanks to Douglas and his connection with this group already, we are going to take a Quest III class there in January to Nicaragua and they will be working directly with this group that these women belong to,” Bryan said.
Leuder said they have had support and funding come from various organizations both on and off campus.
“We have a lot of really great sponsors, the Diversity and Inclusion Program, Reeve Union helped, the Pepsi Fund made this happen as well, Project ESTRELLA, etc,” Leuder said. “They all helped contribute funds towards this to make tonight possible.”
Bryan said students will be doing all sorts of tasks in Nicaragua working toward helping the different communities.
“In Managua they are going to be doing community development sort of work, like helping build houses, helping make the situation in the community where this group lives a little bit better,” Bryan said.
UWO sophomore Emily Morgan is one of the students taking part in the Quest III course to Nicaragua in January.
“I’m going to Nicaragua for fall interim so it was required we came tonight, but I’m really glad that I did,” Morgan said. “We will be working with the Women in Action to help in their schools, with the biodigester systems I believe, and building houses.”
Morgan said she decided to sign up for the class and go on the trip because she wanted to experience new places.
“It’s kind of like the saying ‘life begins outside your comfort zone,’ normally I wouldn’t go to Nicaragua, but the opportunity came and I thought why the heck not,” Morgan said.
Special education major Heather Browne said the class not only offers the chance to travel, but also to do something for someone other than themselves.
“Students should go on the trip obviously to study abroad, it’s the best experience to get the experience of other cultures and also it’s for a really good cause that helps families in need,” Browne said.
Browne said students may be offering their time to these communities but in the long run the students are benefiting from the people in the communities more.
“You’re volunteering and doing good for a community and also like they were saying in the video, you get so much more out of this than you can ever give,” Browne said.