Event draws from campus diversity

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Event draws from campus diversity

Elizabeth Posey, Art Director

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Multicultural week began with a simple activity in the cafeteria on Tuesday: a Lunar New Year celebration involving origami and candy. It ended with a massive food fair ran by many of Branham’s clubs on Friday.

The week marked celebration for students of many ethnic backgrounds—one that ASB student Joel Silva, the leader of the week, hoped would resonate with the student body at Branham.

Vice President of Black Student Union, Rebecca Haile, wants bruins to feel encouraged to explore and advocate for different cultures throughout the entirety of the year.

“People think that to join Black Student Union, you have to be black, or to join Latino Student union, you have to be Latino, but that’s not true,” said Haile.

Haile believes that some of the stigma in becoming a club member is rooted not only in misunderstanding club qualifications, but the actual material discussed during meetings.

“The club may not seem as welcoming even if they are Latino, or even if they’re black [because students think] this isn’t going to be a fun club; it’s going to be a serious club and people don’t want to donate their time,” said Haile, “Clubs can be so much more than serious meetings.”

Though the festivities of the week were enjoyable and educational, the ultimate goal is for awareness to translate into student behavior and lives. Typically, the events that have the greatest impact on students are ones in which they can introduce aspects of their own personal traditions.

Freshman Cindy Zhou expressed her cherished family customs of the Lunar New Year: “We watch this entertainment show until 12 a.m [and enjoy snacks]. If it’s the year of the pig, we buy pig, cook it, and eat it.”

With unquantifiable variations to how people celebrate cultural holidays or events, it is difficult for ASB to reach true inclusivity. Some events such as Wednesday’s map activity, Thursday’s performance, and the food fair were left open-ended to give students the freedom to express their heritage without specific constraints.

Although participation dwindled due to the weather, with the exception of the food fair, the students who attended the lunchtime events recognized their value. “We come from all different parts of the world, and it’s just fun to learn where your friends came from,” Zhou said.