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The Ritmo y Pasión booth in front of the University Student Union. (Benjamin Cruz/The Collegian)

Meet the new booth on the block

After 2 ½ years at Fresno State without a booth, dance club Ritmo y Pasión is now one of the 27 club and organization booths that are featured in front of the University Student Union.

The Ritmo y Pasión club, which translates to “rhythm and passion” in Spanish, teaches students how to dance salsa, bachata and merengue. The members also dance cumbia, cha-cha-cha and zouk dance.

“It is just about giving students, faculty and staff an opportunity to learn and grow in the diverse art of Latin dancing,” said club president Sara Essary.

Currently, many club members are from the Fresno community and not from Fresno State, Essary said. However, she hopes the booth gets the club more exposure and more students involved.

“We always have new students just out of the blue, and then returning students tend to come every now and then,” she said. “It’s kind of rare that you see new students come and then come every single Friday after that, and those are the ones I hold onto and recruit.”

The club meets Friday nights at 8 p.m. in Rooms 011 and 013 at the Peters Business Building.

Kris Greene, the graduate assistant for clubs and organizations, said there are 27 booth openings for recognized clubs and organizations each semester. Members are required to build their own booths according to safety guidelines, and they must be staffed for at least six hours each week.

Club members must fill out a form to be entered into a lottery drawing for a booth, Greene said. As entries are pulled from the raffle, members are able to hand-pick which booth site they want for their club.

“It gives everyone a chance if they want to [have a booth],” he said.

Greene said there were around 40 club entries in the lottery vying for the 27 booth slots this spring.

“[The booths are] a good way for recruiting and just being able to promote your events or just what’s going on, or even just needing space for your club just to hang out and [have] unity with your members,” Greene said.

For club secretary Bianca Carballo, working at the booth has helped her come out of her shell.

“It’s really gotten me to be more open because I’m a really shy person. So the fact that people approach me and ask me about it is really beneficial for myself, as well,” Carballo said.

Essary said it was a hectic process to build the booth. Community club members as well as fraternity members from a neighboring booth helped with the construction and assembly.

“We purchased all of the materials, took it to my backyard, painted it and assembled parts of it, and then we took all of the pieces to campus and assembled the rest on campus,” Essary said. “I don’t know how we did it.”

Carballo said she and other members helped with the lettering of the logo and painting the booth.

“It was fun putting it together because I feel like it brought us together more,” Carballo said. “It’ll definitely catch people’s attention more.”