Event a melting pot for languages

Languages from American Sign Language to Klingon were showcased during Pierce College’s first Language Exchange Tuesday, giving attendees an insight into various cultures of the world through lectures, dances and food.

The event was organized and run by the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society with the help of the Associated Students Organization. The Alpha Gamma Sigma Honor Society, French Club, American Sign Language Club and International Students Club also supported the event with participation in various ways throughout the night.

Iona de la Torre, a 23-year-old music history major, is president of PTK and one of the organizers of the event. He said that the idea for the event came up during the most recent Club Rush on campus when members started talking about the languages they speak.

“It actually happened completely by accident,” De la Torre said. “We realized there is no event, no place for people to go and speak their languages.”

The planning started in August after Club Rush and continued with the organization of speakers and presentations up until the final days before the event. Jason Di Freitas, a 21-year-old computer science major in PTK, was the host of the event. He is multilingual, saying he speaks English, Italian, French, Portuguese and Afrikaans.

“Most of all, we’re trying to accomplish cultural togetherness,” De Freitas said. “As someone who is taking two languages at the same time in one semester, I thought I had to be in on this.”

Many students and faculty came and went during the course of the event, interest gathered by the dancing, music, free food and engaging presentations. Cultural dances were shown off, fantasy languages discussed and explained, as well as stories told in American Sign Language.

The president of AGS, Afsato Metzger, was also involved in the organization and oversight of the event. AGS members mainly were there to make sure everything went as planned and as help, and weren’t as involved in the organization or planning, according to Metzger.

“Basically we have a bunch of mini workshops that are happening throughout the day,” Metzger said.

Language Exchange is planned to be an annual event from this point on, giving multicultural and multilingual students a chance to share their experiences with others interested.

“That’s been the most amazing part of the whole journey,” De la Torre said. “So many people have been interested.”