Guest Blog: The Rio Grande Valley German Club Brings St. Martin’s Day to Texas
The following guest post was written by Christopher Alaniz, a senior majoring in Psychology at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley.
The RGV German Club, a student organization and non-profit at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, was very excited to participate in Wunderbar Together! As a part of our mission to share German culture and language with the community, we created Brownsville, Texas’ first St. Martin’s Day Lantern Parade!
Located in a relatively small border town, whose culture is intertwined with Mexico’s, this parade shared in the Martinstag tradition, inviting children and families to create lanterns, walk and sing through our historic downtown district. The parade and festival were a great success despite the inclement weather. Nearly 100 smiley-faces illuminated by small LED bulbs in silly-shaped lanterns as we walked and sang several blocks through downtown neighborhoods to a local park.
At the festival, the children were welcomed with music, hot chocolate, fresh Stutenkerl and some delicious bratwursts! The workshops, materials and food were all provided free of charge to the community (thanks to Wunderbar Together) and were made very accessible thanks to partnership with the Carlotta Petrina Center, a local art/music/history organization. The RGV German Club has brought several successful German-themed events to the valley, such as our first authentic Oktoberfest, a Weihnachtskonzert (Christmas Concert), Spring Musikabend (Musical Evening), the Tag des Deutschen Bieres (Day of German Beer), and even community German language courses!
The donations and earnings from these events are given right back to the hard-working students in form of scholarships toward studying abroad in Germany, club trips (like the German Career Fair in Houston) and club socials. Last summer, the club took our first trip to Germany in which 19 students toured cities such as Munich, Berlin, Bonn, Cologne, took an excursion to Salzburg, Austria, and completed a two-week language course at the Technische Universität of Dresden. This summer, we are planning on taking over 20 new members to Germany. This is a very exciting time for the club because it is growing! Our mission is not only to share German culture with the Rio Grande Valley, but to encourage students to broaden their minds by learning about different cultures and give them professional opportunities and a pathway for continuing their education in German-speaking countries. We are very grateful! It was awesome to be represented by this campaign, and we are very much looking forward to our next opportunity to share Wunderbar Together’s mission!
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