In the beginning years, Rho Rho vigorously pursued the objectives presented in the Society’s statement of purpose, particularly that of promoting a greater interest in and understanding of Hispanic culture through the sponsorship of activities of an academic, service and/or social nature.
Among Rho Rho’s first activities was the establishment of a poetry contest in celebration of the Día de la Raza, with the announcement of the winner at a “Noche de Poesía y Música.” The organization’s focus on the arts continued throughout the years with “Hispanic Art and Literature Nights” and with poetry readings and musical presentations by local and national artists, such as poet and musician Dr. Joseph Benevento and international opera star, tenor Scott Piper.
In 1999 members presented in Spanish the first one-act play sponsored by the organization, Cervantes’ El retablo de las maravillas, also providing for the audience an original translation of the piece. This performance was followed by several other theatrical events, among them Fernando Arrabal’s Pic-nic (2003, 2009), Mariano Barranco’s Los pantalones (2005) and Las solteronas (2008), Emilio Carballidos’ El censo (2001), Miguel de Cervantes’ El viejo celoso (2000), Gabriela Roepke’s Una mariposa blanca (2004), and Sergio Vodonovic’s El delantal blanco (2003). Each of these works was translated to English by chapter members for simultaneous projection during the performance.
In addition, Sigma Delta Pi members performed a play by Truman faculty member Dr. Juan Carlos Valencia, Consumiendo consumo (2002), and wrote and performed two original one-act plays, Eduardo Blanco y las Siete Novias (2001) and Concurso de amor (2002) under the direction of Dr. Valencia.
The organization sponsored academic presentations by visiting scholars such as Dr. Donato Fernández Navarrete of Madrid’s Universidad Complutense, who spoke on “Los años de la transición española” (1990), and Dr. Monica Bendini of the Universidad de Comahue, Argentina, whose talk centered on the oral traditions of the Mapuche (1991).
Numerous presentations were made by Truman faculty members, among them Dr. Roy Tanner, Dr. Lucy Lee, Dr. Bill Cummins, Dr. Joaquin Maldonado and Dr. Sergio Escobar. In addition, several Hispanic film series were sponsored for the Truman community.
Cultural events of a service nature were an important focus throughout this first period of the chapter’s existence and have helped to make Rho Rho’s presence known on the Truman State University campus.
One such activity is the annual Día de los Muertos immersion night for Truman students, which has been sponsored by the organization since 1996. Other participatory immersion night events have included Agencia de viajes y Viaje a España, which involved faculty members and Truman students in role-playing activities. The chapter also sponsored a series of culture presentations each semester for elementary and intermediate students, focusing on countries presented in the text used for those courses.
An annual Multi-cultural Study Abroad Forum was begun in 2004, in which students with study abroad experience were invited to represent their country with a display and other information. A Spanish Professions Fair with information regarding employment and internship options was held on two occasions. In addition, Rho Rho participated regularly in the University’s annual Classical and Modern Languages Festival by sponsoring several sessions for high school students.
Other service activities performed on an annual basis included representing the Spanish discipline with a display at the university-wide Majors and Minors Fair and representing the Spanish major at prospective student Visit Days.
We also participated in the city-wide Earth Day celebration with rain forest displays and interactive activities for children. Chapter members have volunteered as interpreters at the Adair County Health Fair, taught weekly Spanish classes at the university’s Early Learning Center, and raised money to buy books for a rural library in Honduras, and translated in-take documents and other information for a Women’s Shelter.