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University of Iowa News Release

April 19, 2004

Gusto Latino April 24 Raises Funds For Mexican Library

This year's Latin dance festival, Gusto Latino, will raise not only spirits, but funds for a school library in Mexico, thanks to a partnership between the University of Iowa International Crossroads Community (ICC), International Programs, and the Rotaract Club of Iowa City.

Gusto Latino, which will be from 8 p.m. to midnight Saturday, April 24, on the Second Floor Ballroom of the Iowa Memorial Union, is free to UI students who present a valid student I.D. The cost is $4 for non-UI students and $6 for other members of the public. Those who bring a children's book in Spanish will get $1 off the admission fee. Tickets will be available at the door.

There will be salsa dancing featuring the music of Orquesta Alto Maiz as well as professional dance groups and instructors providing free lessons.

Gusto Latino has been an annual event at the UI for almost two decades, but this year there is a new twist. This is the first year the festival has been affiliated with Rotary International. Eighty percent of the proceeds from this year's event will go toward a matching grant that will be used to build a library for one of the secondary schools in Xicotepec, Mexico, which is part of an ongoing Rotary international service project.

"Gusto Latino gives the UI community an opportunity to celebrate in Latino/Afro-Cuban heritage and to participate in an extraordinary international service project," said Brett Johnson, a UI sophomore and member of the Rotaract club of Iowa City, a community and international service organization open to anyone age 18 to 30 supported by Rotary International.

The International Crossroads Community is open to all students interested in international issues, foreign language or who want to learn about different cultures. Membership is diverse, and in addition to the annual festival, the student organization sponsors several other cultural events throughout the year, including an International Open House, Oktoberfest and foreign film screenings.

ICC is affiliated with UI International Programs, which consists of a number of offices, centers, degree programs, academic programs, research projects and services. Organized under the associate provost and dean for International Programs, these units serve to further internationalize the campus and community and promote global scholarship, research and training.

Almost 20 area businesses and other organizations are also supporting Gusto Latino.

For more information about Gusto Latino, contact Blythe Burkhardt, International Programs, at (319) 353-1436 or e-mail,

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500.

MEDIA CONTACT: Lois Gray, 319-335-2026,; Writer: Mansi Bhatia