MARK GILLESPIE/Livingston County News
Foreign languages department celebrates 50th anniversary
SUNY Geneseo’s annual “Cultural Harmony Week” Oct. 24 — Nov. 4 will resonate more boldly this year as the college’s Department of Languages and Literatures celebrates its 50th anniversary.
To mark the occasion, the department is planning a week of events representing four different world cultures.
The largest event will be a theatrical performance by the New York City-based Repertorio Español called “En el tiempo de las mariposas.”
The play tells the story of the courageous Mirabal sisters Patria, Minerva and Maria Teresa (known as “the butterflies”), who were brutally murdered in 1960 for inspiring a revolutionary movement in the Dominican Republic against the dictatorial regime of Gen. Rafael Leonidas Trujillo — based on a novel by Julia Alvarez.
According to department chairwoman Rose McEwan, the troupe will do a special daytime performance of the play Thursday, Nov. 1 for 828 students from 18 area high schools.
McEwan credits several campus offices and student volunteers for making the high school visit possible.
“To bring so many people to Geneseo required the coordination of numerous staff and students,” she said. “Many students will be taking tours of the campus led by the Office of Admissions and dining in area restaurants.”
A public performance of the play is scheduled Nov. 1 at 7:30 p.m. in Wadsworth Auditorium.
McEwen says a grant from the college’s Center for Community has allowed the department to offer tickets to this play at a much-reduced rate.
Tickets are $10 for adults, $8 for students ($5 for SUNY Geneseo students) and are available at tinyurl.com/wnyhhf or at the auditorium’s ticket office one hour before the performance.
Members of the Spanish Club will decorate the auditorium’s foyer with an altar for “Day of the Dead,” a Mexican tradition observed the first two days of November.
Also scheduled for the anniversary is an Oktoberfest Celebration Oct. 31 in Welles Hall 210, organized by the German and Slavic Clubs, and activities by the Asian and Arabic Studies Clubs.
The French Club is hosting a cultural evening Nov. 2 at 7 p.m. in Welles 111, focusing on Europe, Quebec and Africa. These events are free and open to the public. See a complete schedule of anniversary events at geneseo.edu/foreign_languages /anniversary.
The anniversary events are also part of the Western New York Hispanic Heritage Festiva through Nov. 4 at multiple venues in Livingston and Wyoming Counties.
“This is an exciting time in our department’s history,” says McEwen, who pointed out that the department serves 300 majors with 28 full- and part-time faculty members teaching nine languages.
The theme of Cultural Harmony Week is “Create. Play. Educate: That’s How We Learn!” — helping raise awareness of human behavior and social organization through the power of play.
This year’s featured lectures include “The Power to Play: from Trash to Treasurer” and “Everyone Has a Story to Tell;” a graphic novel and comic book contest, relaxation sessions and a keynote address by Cheryl Kilodavis, author of “My Princess Boy,” on Monday, October 29 at 7 p.m. in Newton 204.
“My Princess Boy” is based on Kilodavis’ son, who happily expresses himself by wearing clothes traditionally seen as feminine. The book explores both the challenges he faces as well as the love and support he receives from family and friends.
To see the entire week’s schedule, go to geneseo.edu/multicultural.