Alum to show documentary

Geneseo alumnus Jody Swilky will return to present his documentary, "A Little Salsa on the Prairie: The Changing Character in Perry, Iowa," a film on cultural diversification and its effects on a metropolitan community in the Midwest.

The film will be shown at 7 p.m. Thursday in Newton 204 as part of Cultural Harmony Week in conjunction with the Alan Lutkus International Film Series, the Latin American studies program and the Geneseo Migrant Center.

Swilky, now an English professor and centennial scholar at Drake University, said he found the relationship between "how a community represents itself and what goes on between ethnicities," to be his most interesting discovery while filming. For example, he found that although residents living within 10 blocks of a high school are advocates of diversity, the high school students might feel a different way. "Sometimes people don't want to know what is really going on," Swilky said.

Swilky said the similarities between Geneseo and Perry are striking.

"In Livingston County, there is a significant cultural change taking place," said Swilky. He said that immigration in this area is especially tied to the agricultural sector.

"We are between a rock and a hard place right now," he said. "We need people to do jobs that other people don't want to do, but we're being forced to be tighter on border control … the world is going to be different."

Rose McEwen, coordinator of Latin studies, said she believes students can benefit from the documentary. According to McEwen, there is a "large Hispanic and immigrant population in the area that are extremely valuable to our economy." She added that there has been a long history of collaboration between the Geneseo Migrant Center, located in Mt. Morris, and Geneseo faculty and students.

"[The documentary] brings awareness to the complexity surrounding multicultural issues," said McEwen. "Our situation here in Geneseo is not unique and it is good to look at the rest of the country."

The next documentary presented by the Alan Lutkus International Film Series, "The Sugar Babies," will premiere on Oct. 22.