¡Adelante Tigres! participants gathered at Chancellor Green.
Sameer A. Khan

High-profile alumni like Justice Sonia Sotomayor ’76 and ACLU head Anthony Romero ’87 grabbed the headlines at Princeton’s ¡Adelante Tigres! conference March 30-April 1, but other events also gave participants much to mull over.

At a presentation called “Latino, Latina, Latinx: Immigration and Identity in the Age of Globalization,” senior lecturer in sociology Patricia Fernandez-Kelly argued that language plays an integral role in social representation and equal participation. She asked the audience to consider the word “Hispanic,” which she said has been used to “impose uniformity and erase national origin or cultural differentiation” of people from more than 20 countries and territories, who may be U.S. citizens, legal residents, and undocumented.

At another talk, “U.S. Elections and the Latino Identity,” assistant professor of politics and Latino studies Ali Valenzuela discussed media reports of how Latino voters helped support Trump and his policies.

Valenzuela described how the National Exit Poll, designed to reflect the national public vote by targeting large precincts in each state, often overlooks areas where minority and low-income groups live.

“The bottom line is, don’t believe the exit-poll numbers,” Valenzuela said.

At a “Latino Studies Today” panel, alumni who teach at other universities discussed the importance of the discipline and what the future holds for Latino studies, given the changing demographics of the United States. And at a panel called “Voices Across the Decades,” alumni gathered to share their experiences on campus. Aida Pacheco ’77, who recalled taking the bus to her family home in Trenton, N.J., every weekend, remembered her dismay at realizing that her strong family bonds put her at odds with many of her classmates: “For me, family was the center [of my life].

Food and drink were also conference highlights, as alumni sipped rum as they listened to jazz; ate empanadas, burritos, and churros; and enjoyed Chilean wine pairings offered by Michael Kingston ’62, of Kingston Family Vineyards. On a  playful note, Princeton’s second annual Tiger Chef Challenge offered some entertainment. In a challenge run by Dining Services, teams of four students representing residential colleges had 45 minutes to prepare, cook, and present a plant-based entree to five judges. Many conference attendees looked on as teams foraged for ingredients from a cornucopia of fruits and vegetables assembled in Dillon Gym.

Butler College’s “Michelin Stars” took the prize, as Heavyn Jennings ’20, Florence Odigie ’20, Kristie Falconer ’20, and Kevin Lin ’20 proffered a four-course tasting plate: a salad, a fresh take on nachos, vegan pad thai, and an apple cinnamon vegan egg roll with a caramel drizzle. “The flavors were arranged in a way that changed your palate,” judge (and professor) Dan Rubenstein said. “They started savory, and then went spicy, and then went sweet.”