Passport to Puerto Rico Showcases the Best of the Island



Brothers of the Phi Iota Alpha Fraternity promoted their Passport to Puerto Rico event at the Activities Fair.

Nickool Castro, Staff Writer

The Phi Iota Alpha Fraternity, Inc. held their annual event “Passport to…” on Thursday, Sept. 28. This year they chose Puerto Rico, La Isla del Encanto. Passport to Puerto Rico was held in Marillac Terrace at 5 p.m.

The event provided students with the opportunity to learn more about the culture that surrounds the Caribbean island, to taste some popular dishes and learn some of their popular dances.

“We hope to enlighten the SJU community with the rich culture of Puerto Rico as well as conduct a salsa dance workshop since salsa is a very popular dance in Puerto Rico,” James Livia, a brother of Phi Iota Alpha Fraternity, Inc. and the current president of the Multicultural Greek Alliance Council, said.

The purpose of this event is to promote and preserve Latin American culture as well as to make the St. John’s community aware of recent issues such countries are currently facing.

“We want to give people a little insight of what Puerto Rico is like,” Carlos Collado added.

“I thoroughly enjoyed the event because Puerto Rico, especially in recent news, it’s the forgotten commonwealth of the United States. I don’t think people realize how much of an asset and how much resources came from Puerto Rico. I’m just glad that some people in the St. John’s community are shining light on it now,” Briana Carrera said.

This year marks the 11th anniversary of the event “Passport to…” Every year since 2006 the brothers of Phi Iota Alpha Fraternity, Inc. have continuously hosted “Passport to” during the Latino Heritage Month to reveal the Latino culture to the St. John’s Community.

Last year, the Dominican Republic was the country chosen for “Passport to…” and the fraternity hosted a bachata and merengue dance workshop as well as a tasting of typical Dominican dishes like Mangú con Salami. In 2015, they hosted “Passport to Colombia,” in 2014 they hosted “Passport to Brazil” and in 2013 they hosted “Passport to Mexico.”

There was also a designated table for those who wanted to donate to support Puerto Rico in these difficult moments the island is currently facing.

“We feel it is crucial to keep everyone aware of the culture situation at hand in the south such as Florida, Puerto Rico, Mexico and even the Dominican Republic,” Melvin Prado, chapter vice president, said. “And because of this we will also be taking donations for the hurricane relief in the Caribbean.”