The 25th HASA/CASA to take place on Saturday

A night of history, culture and dancing

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The 25th HASA/CASA to take place on Saturday

Collegian File Photo

Collegian File Photo

Collegian File Photo

Collegian File Photo

By Abigail Charpentier, News Editor

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With the 25th anniversary of the first Haitian American Student Association and Casa Dominicana cultural event quickly approaching, members of HASA and Latinos Unidos are putting the finishing touching on plans and rehearsing for their event on Saturday, March 30.

HASA/CASA, co-hosted by HASA and LU is “an event where we get to see the differences and similarities between Haitian and Dominican culture. And we also have the space and opportunity to talk about the relations between Dominicans and Haitians,” said Yanni Cabrera, president of Latinos Unidos and a senior English major.

“We also have the opportunity to celebrate in such a unifying way,” she said.

The annual event draws in hundreds of attendees from UMass and the five-college community. This year, attendance is expected to be greater with alumni coming back for the night.

Cabrera explained how they “put a lot of focus on the alumni this year, because they have done their own HASA/CASAs in the past…So we want to put a large focus on all the work that we’ve done and all the years that we’ve been doing this.”

To celebrate the alumni, HASA and LU are asking past members about their experience with the event and what it meant to them as UMass students. Along with trying to include aspects of alumni answers into the event, the groups are creating a video of alumni to show on Saturday night.

Starting at 8 p.m., the event will also consist of a show with different segments, including skits and dance performances from the HASA dance team and Cayena, the LU dance team, as well as some musical performances. When the show ends at around 10:30 p.m., a “dance party” will begin and last until the end of the event at 1 a.m.

There will also be a history and trivia portion of the show, which will be hosted by a LU alum and a HASA alum, who will educate audience members by explaining aspects of the two cultures.

“Sometimes the history of Haiti and [the] DR can be a little bit hard to talk about, especially at an event like this. So the way that we do it is we setup trivia questions and have the audience be involved with trying to answer them,” she explained.

Dinner will also be provided during the show, with the groups serving Haitian and Dominican dishes along with plantains, rice, salad, tropical juices and various desserts.

Attendees, like in past years, are expected to wear all-white attire. Alain Duplan, a public relations coordinator for HASA and economics sophomore, said “the all-white tradition started in the last 10 years and it was to bring more formality, almost like a ball.”

Cabrera said planning this year’s event has been “a bit hectic” with the Student Union renovations. This is the first year HASA/CASA will take place in the Curry Hicks Cage as opposed to the Student Union Ballroom.

“I feel like there wasn’t much advocacy or caring at all about whether or not cultural orgs. had a space to have their main events. Because HASA and LU aren’t the only ones that were kind of forgotten about in that scheme,” she said.

She explained how several cultural groups “weren’t really provided with another space and another cheap space that we can use to celebrate our culture” and how “being in communication with those who control the spaces on campus is very difficult.”

Despite the issue of the venue, Cabrera said planning the event has been going well. She and Samantha Das, the president of HASA, had met when they were first elected presidents of their respective groups and discussed what they wanted the event to look like.

“It’s really being executed,” she said.

Sigourney Scrubb, the other public relations coordinator for HASA and psychology senior, said people can expect “just overall a good time. It’s an event that brings a lot of people together not only Haitians and Dominicans, but all the cultural orgs on campus.”

The first round of HASA/CASA presale tickets sold out on March 19 and the second round sold out on March 21. Tickets will be available at the door for $15, $13 for those dressed in all white.

Abigail Charpentier can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @abigailcharp.