RIT student sharing culture through celebration

Student Spotlight
Paul Janampa, fourth-year sociology and anthropology major

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RITmo Latino is an opportunity for RIT students to celebrate Latino culture through dance.

Fourth-year sociology and anthropology student Paul Janampa is passionate about sharing Latino culture. He believes that the opportunity to experience different cultures and ethnicities while at college is an important step to growing as a person. Janampa is coordinating the 20th Annual RITmo Latino Dance Party on Saturday. For more information, go to events.rit.edu.

Question: Where are you from?
Answer: I was born in Peru but I moved to Nashua, N.H., just a few months before my 13th birthday.

Q: What brought you to RIT?
A: I liked how far away it was from New Hampshire and I also liked the school’s reputation.

Q: What has been your favorite RIT moment?
A: My favorite moment at RIT has been participating in Mud Tug. I never realized how much fun playing in the mud could be.

Q: What organizations are you involved in at RIT?
A: Currently, I am the treasurer for my fraternity, Lambda Alpha Upsilon. I am the secretary for the National Association of Latino Fraternal Organizations at RIT. I am also an active member of the Student Advisory Board and one of the service leaders for the RIT Leadership and Community Service Center.

Q: In your opinion, what is the most interesting or unique thing about yourself?
A: I would say the most unique thing about me is my background, being from Peru. Living in a developing nation has given me a different view on life that some people might not have. It has also helped me understand and interact with people from different backgrounds, which I enjoy.

Q: What is RITmo Latino?
A: RITmo Latino is not just an annual cultural dance party; it is a representation of my fraternity’s history and goals. RITmo Latino was the first social event organized by Los Hermanos of the Beta Chapter of LAU in the fall of 1993 to promote awareness of the Latino culture on campus. Our founders’ goal, besides sharing our music and culture, was to keep Latino students from transferring out of RIT after the first academic quarter or year by telling students to wait for RITmo Latino before transferring. This created a lot of pressure to make the event a success. Every year, we look forward to taking it to the next level. We want to make sure that everyone has a great time enjoying our culture and more importantly, we want to help keep Latinos and students of color at RIT.

Q: How did you get involved with RITmo Latino and what is your role?
A: I became involved with RITmo by taking the role of main coordinator for this event. This past spring, I was the assistant coordinator for my fraternity’s other annual cultural dance, Mi Tierra, which gave me the experience and skills necessary to be able to work this program.

Q: Is there anything else that you would like the RIT community to know about RITmo Latino?
A: This year marks the 20th consecutive occurrence of this cultural event. Not only does this represent the success of this event, but it also represents our history and dedication to continue to fulfill our goals. I encourage any student who has not attended RITmo Latino to show up and I also welcome everyone who has attended before to continue to support our event.

Q: What advice would you give to other students?
A: My advice to other college students is to take advantage of all the opportunities for growth and self-improvement on campus. Get involved in clubs and organizations that spark up your interest and try doing something that is out of your comfort zone. Also, learn how to manage your time so you can explore all your opportunities while still having fun and completing your schoolwork. College is the one of the best chances in your life to meet an abundance of people from different backgrounds, races, ethnicities and religions. Make college an opportunity for growth.

Q: What are your plans after graduation?
A: After graduation, I plan to enroll in law school.

Matt Gregory compiles “Student Spotlights” for University News. Contact him at msg2110@rit.edu with suggestions.