Sofía Alpízar Román ’21, a political science major from Poás, Costa Rica, came to Kenyon with a love for writing and a passion for people. She has always aspired to marry these interests as a professional journalist, and once on the Hill, she felt energized and inspired by the dozens of like-minded young writers who were spreading their ideas through blogs, articles and essays.
“I thought, ‘Why am I not doing that, too?’” she said. “But I think that English was, and still can be, a barrier for me.”
Alpízar Román eventually found an outlet for her passions in a new student-run Spanish publication, “A medio camino,” which recently released its inaugural issue. As one of the publication’s two co-directors, Alpízar Román oversees general operations, coordinates events and leads team meetings in her native language.
“A medio camino” was organized last November by Visiting Assistant Professor of Spanish Diego del Río Arrillaga. He envisioned the publication, to be produced several times each semester, as a platform for students to “contribute to Kenyon’s campus life with an array of voices and new perspectives.” The name of the publication, inspired by Middle Path, loosely translates to “halfway there.”
“When I was first thinking of ‘A medio camino,’ I imagined it almost as a representation of a native or heritage Spanish speaker at Kenyon. It’s like a person who speaks to the community primarily in Spanish — a person who has a very particular sensitivity to the beauty of the language and the issues of Latinxs in the U.S. and who shares his or her own voice in an attempt to build a dialogue with the community,” he explained.
Fifteen students comprise the “A medio camino” production team. During the group’s weekly meetings, intermediate Spanish learners and native speakers work together to brainstorm article ideas and review student submissions.
The team’s inaugural publication is divided into three sections. A creative writing segment includes student-written haikus, personal essays and short stories. A U.S. news section analyzes national Latino/a issues and their everyday impacts. Local news stories cover general community events, focusing particularly on the Latino/a experience in Gambier and Knox County. The inaugural issue includes an article on the response from Kenyon’s Latino/a community to a draft of a new play, “The Good Samaritan,” and a conversation about campus diversity with Visiting Assistant Professor of Spanish Greg Severyn.
The production team plans to translate select articles into English from the original Spanish text. Publication co-director Dani Martinez ’21, from East Brunswick, New Jersey, explained that these translations allow “A medio camino” to speak to “the Spanish-speaking community, but also the entirety of Kenyon.”
“All of us need to know about Latinx issues and hear about them from the actual perspective of people experiencing these issues,” she said.
After months of preparation, Alpízar Román is excited to finally introduce “A medio camino” to campus. “I think that it will be a safe and respectful space for Latinx students to express themselves and reach a wider audience,” she said. “And I hope that our readers will get engaged. I hope they think about these problems affecting the Latinx community and how their classmates might be struggling because of these issues. We at ‘A medio camino’ want to make Spanish more visible in as many ways as possible.”
—Ben Hunkler ’20