From left to right: Lindsay Terpstra, Ana Maria Donat, and Renan Rebelatto. Photo courtesy of the VIU Spanish Club

From left to right: Lindsay Terpstra, Ana Maria Donat, and Renan Rebelatto.
Photo courtesy of the VIU Spanish Club

Blake Deal
The Navigator

VIU’s Spanish Club was formed in 1999 by Ana Maria Donat and is our university’s longest-running club.

Donat said she founded the club to create opportunities for students to practice the language skills learned in class in a relaxed atmosphere while learning more about the culture of the many Spanish-speaking countries of the world. 

They started as a tiny club and turned into the largest club on campus. She said “It gives me great satisfaction to see the students enhancing their skills in Spanish while learning more about cultural topics in the friendly space that the club provides. Many lasting friendships, and even a couple of marriages, sprung from students mingling in the Spanish Club.”

The Spanish Club has branched out beyond VIU and has reached out to the Spanish-speaking community as well. “We get a lot of older Spanish people coming to our events,” said current Co-President Renan Rebelatto.

Rebelatto said the club tries to partake in events off campus that are held by the Spanish-speaking community, such as dance nights or other small gatherings.

The club holds movie nights regularly, and Donat said “The movies the club chooses aim to pass on the cultural values and traditions of the Spanish speaking countries.”

“They share a message of hope and a “sunny” outlook in life. The directors of these movies try to give the message that cooperation, friendship, and a positive and dynamic response to the challenges of life help one to overcome in the bleakest of circumstances. One example that comes to mind is Volver, by Spanish director Pedro Almodovar with Penelope Cruz in one of her best roles. The club has shown that movie twice and it was very well-liked.”

Rebelatto said the club has been rather quiet this year due to its lack of experienced membership.

“We are all getting to know each other and learn the ropes as far as how to put on events on campus.”

Rebelatto hopes to increase the club’s presence on campus next year and encourages students to join.

Club member Lindsay Terpstra said that being in the club is relaxing, fun, and doesn’t require a lot of commitment, and Michelle Gan said it’s a great way to relax after the pressures of studying.

The club will be holding its final event on April 10 in the lounge in building 355 from 5-10:30pm. There will be a movie playing in the lecture hall, and dancing and food in the lounge. All students and community members are encouraged to come out.