Latinx Leadership throws belated quince for MAS

Series of events ends in party for the anniversary of the Mexico, the Americas and Spain program


Photo Courtesy of DJ Ponce

DJ for the MAS Quince, DJ Ponce, snaps a photo of attendees.

The Calgaard Gym was transformed into a long overdue quinceañera (quince) for the Mexico, the Americas and Spain (MAS) program on Friday, April 21. Organized primarily by first-years Nayeli Aleman and Kaleigh Cansino, the event marked the culmination of a series of five events planned by the Latinx Leadership class to celebrate Latinx culture on campus.
Both Aleman and Cansino had long known that they wanted a quince to be the final event, but it wasn’t always clear for whom they wanted to throw it.

“Coming from San Antonio, we’ve both gone to quince events and quince-like events, so we were just like, ‘Oh, this reminds us of the community we used to have at the district we were in,’” Cansino, sociology major and teaching minor, said. “At first, it was supposed to be LeeRoy’s quince, but then we learned that the MAS program wasn’t able to celebrate their 15 years on campus due to COVID, so it’s not an excuse to throw a quince, it was just a better way to throw the quince.”

The quince began with a dinner of fajitas, flautas and rice followed by a sopapilla and chocolate fountain dessert. Throughout the dinner, a slideshow of the photos celebrating Latinx students at Trinity played, accompanied by music from DJ Ponce. Students were at the heart of this celebration, and Aleman and Cansino both hoped that students would find or strengthen community through this event.

“We have this large city, and it’s mainly Hispanic and Latinx people. But, that’s not reflected in the university, so I want to be like, ‘You’re in San Antonio. This is also our space too, we’re here, we’re proud of it and we’re gonna throw a party no matter what,’” Cansino said. “The Latinx community on campus, a lot of them are first-gen, and they might feel like they shouldn’t be here, but providing a place to celebrate your identity and your community I think will make it so much better, especially because we have prospective students coming in for this event.”

After dinner and some brief remarks, it was time for the dancing to begin. Classics like Selena’s “Bidi Bidi Bom Bom” and V.I.C.’s “Wobble” filled the air as the gym floor transformed into a packed dance floor.

Selah Fernandez, first-year neuroscience major, was at the event and reflected on what it meant to her.

“It’s nice to come together and have this kind of community. I wanted to participate and dance and have fun. It’s really nice,” Fernandez said.

As promised, the quince featured one big surprise: a carefully choreographed dance starring LeeRoy. For Aleman, sociology and global Latinx studies double-major and Spanish minor, the inclusion of this dance was important not just because it is a traditional part of a quince, but because of its symbolic power.

“It’s something very powerful and very much an act of resistance to dance and to be joyful and be among people that you care about when dancing,” Aleman said.

Aleman also shared their hopes for the future of the MAS program.

“I want more faculty for sure to be involved in the MAS program,” Aleman said. “They already have a big presence on campus, but I want that to keep growing. I want there to be so many more Latinx leadership initiatives and even different initiatives like that for other communities of color on campus. I also hope for more connections between MAS and San Antonio, like different organizations in San Antonio. There already are some, but I hope that that pathway continues to expand and that you really see MAS throughout all directions of San Antonio. I just want it to keep getting bigger and better.”