In the same way sugar is added to a classic Cuban coffee, the Federación de Estudiantes Cubanos (FEC) is adding its own sweetness to campus with Cuban Culture Week, which begins at noon on Monday, March 28, at the Lakeside Patio.
The Cuban Culture Week celebration was officially established in 1980 and includes a variety of exhibits, speakers and activities for students to learn about the Cuban community.
“Sometimes we only highlight the flashiness of our culture because we don’t have a lot of time in many interactions to share as much as we can,” said Adriana Ramirez, secretary of FEC and University of Miami sophomore studying biology. “Cuba is much more than cigars, communism, any of that. We have so many more layers. We want to immerse people in our food — the coffee, the pastelitos — in our music, in our dancing, our history… everything. We want to show that there’s more to being Cuban than what meets the eye.”
Over the past two years, Cuban Culture week has been hosted virtually but now FEC’s festivities are back in-person and in full-swing.
“Last year it still happened, but we didn’t have as many events as we normally would,” Ramirez said. “Now we can have more intimate events, like our service day and we plan for it to feel much more energetic and present going back to an in-person experience.”
The José Marti Service Day will take place 12-2 p.m. Wednesday at the Lakeside Village awning where students will assemble care packages for underserved Cuban communities in Miami-Dade County.
When organizing the week’s activities, the FEC plans its own events but looks for ways to connect with other organizations and campus events where Cuban culture can be highlighted, said junior Zoe Fundora, FEC president-elect.
FEC partnered the Canes’ baseball team during the home game against the University of North Carolina on Sunday to kick off the week with giveaways and a student section. On Wednesday, students can visit the Lowe Art Museum to get a behind-the-scenes look at the “Bridges” exhibit, which includes the works of many Cuban South Florida based artists.
Perhaps one of the biggest events taking place during the week is What Matters to U’s speaker event with world-renowned rapper and singer Pitbull at 6 p.m. Tuesday. After many struggled to get tickets initially because of limited space, it has recently been moved from the Shalala Ballroom to the Watsco Center and will accommodate an additional 1,700 students.
“Pitbull’s a big artist, so we expected for it to be really difficult for everyone who wanted to go to be able to get a ticket,” Fundora said. “We hope that whoever does see him sees that he’s openly proud of his roots as a Cuban-American and can learn from what he has to share about his experiences.”
FEC will be hosting several other events this week for the UM community to take part in.
Cuban Culture Week Activities:
- What: Cuban Culture Week sponsored by the Federación de Estudiantes Cubanos
- When: March 28-April 1
- Where: Events take place at various campus venues
- Official opening ceremony, 12 – 3 p.m. at the Lakeside Patio.
- Cafecito on the Rock, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. FEC will be giving out free Cuban coffee and pastelitos.
- What Matters to U: A Conversation with Pitbull 6 p.m., Watsco Center
- José Marti Service Day, 12 – 2 p.m., Lakeside Awning. Students will assemble care packages for underserved Cuban communities in Miami-Dade County.
- Behind-the-scenes tour of “Bridges” exhibit, which includes the works of many Cuban South Florida artists, 5 p.m., Lowe Art Museum.
- History of Cuban Immigration display, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Rock. Students can learn about the many waves of migration Cubans have taken from the Cuban Revolution in 1959 to today.
- Closing ceremony, 12 p.m. – 3 p.m. at the Rock.