Modern Languages & Literatures

Zoila Pinedaby Zoila Pineda '15

Modern Languages & Literatures
Spanish Literature and Linguistics 


This past Christmas, Chapter Gamma Psi of Sigma Delta Pi (the National Collegiate Hispanic Honor Society) in cooperation with the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures had the first toy drive of its history uniting professors, staff, students, and community in a noble cause. The purpose was to collect as many toys as possible to send to some of the poorest rural communities in El Salvador. A box was placed in the Modern Languages and Literatures’ office with the support of our chair, Professor Costa. The response was unbelievable!!!! We watched the contents grow from a teddy bear placed there initially by Chapter Gamma Psi’s advisor Professor Dumitrescu to so many more. The volunteers happily placed another box as well as bags to be able to hold the overflowing output of support. All the toys seemed to grow more and more everyday!!!! Everyone got on board enthusiastically donating toys as well as monetary contributions to be part of bringing a smile to these children’s life and embodying the Christmas spirit. Professor Dumitrescu, Professor Retzer, Professor Solomianski, as well as countless others donated generously to this great effort. Working with El Pescador committee here, a whole ship compartment was filled with dolls, cars, stuffed animals, and an assortment of different toys. The toys were shipped to El Salvador and made it on time to be handed out by Christmas. The Salvadorean community impacted by the drive was extremely thankful as for some of the children the toy they received from the toy drive was the only gift they obtained for Christmas. This event has been part of my family for a few years, and I was extremely happy that this past year my association Sigma Delta Pi and the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures were also part of it. As a former treasurer of Chapter Gamma Psi, I hope that this becomes a tradition that will continue in the coming years. You can view a video of how the toys are distributed from a report done in 2010 about this thoughtful project in the following YouTube link:

San Gerardo, San Miguel El Salvador

Here are some pictures of the toy drive at the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures:

Toys                     Toys               Toys

Footnote: The remaining toys were donated to “Casa de los Amigos” in Los Angeles where they were donated to needy children. 

La Onda: The Spanish Connection

            As you flip through the pages of the University Times, one finds an unexpected but pleasant surprise: La Onda (a page written entirely in Spanish by students from the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures). Its concept began in a Journalism class given by Professor Pablo Baler. La Onda started as a blog and developed as a one page Spanish newspaper within the University Times. The first time it was published in the University Times was in the Winter of 2014. The articles are conceived, written, and edited by the students themselves. Professor Baler serves as the Faculty Advisor.

Regarding the question of the importance of La Onda in Cal State LA, Professor Baler answered: “La Onda shows the diversity of our community and at the same time is shows that Cal State L.A. is open to other languages, other cultures and to other ways of thinking. It is a way for our students to start their journalism career, to start writing and crafting articles. In other words, to learn by doing. Journalism cannot be learned only by studying the theory, this is a skill and a profession that has to be learned on the job.”

With regard to the name La Onda, Professor Baler answers: “because the slogan is 'acompañando el movimiento' (accompanying the movement).” To this Xanni Valentín Chavira, La Onda’s Managing Editor, adds: “las ondas- the waves- represent movement, the duty of a journalist to make known the events that move our society and that affect us as individuals belonging to this society. These news or occurrences move the world impacting everyone.” Follow La Onda at or in Facebook:

If you would like to share an article in Spanish to La Onda, contact Xanni Valentín Chavira at  [email protected]. All students from Cal State LA are encouraged to contribute articles.