A spirit of collaboration and cooperation highlighted the Cultural Fair on Wednesday, as more than 300 students and 40 student groups celebrated in the Mandela Room with music and prizes as they broadened their cultural horizons.
The event was hosted by the Multicultural Resource Center. Mengchen Huang, a graduate assistant for MRC, said she was pleased with the turnout.
“I hope to see more students realize the different groups and multicultural resources here to help them and to see people embrace diversity,” Huang said.
The fair featured a raffle with a $200 grant as the grand prize. Each attendee also received a fortune cookie, with the chance to win t-shirts or tickets to a Binghamton men’s basketball game.
The fair allowed students to mingle with members from many of the multicultural groups on campus. Jesse Pau, a sophomore majoring in mechanical engineering, said the fair encouraged her to look into certain groups more closely.
“I learned a lot about the different clubs we have at [Binghamton],” Pau said. “I’ll definitely consider checking out their events more.”
Alex Valera, a member of the Philippine American League, said the fair inspired an interest in other, unfamiliar cultural groups.
“There’s been a lot of different cultural exchanges occurring,” said Valera, a sophomore majoring in computer science. “I think I’ll branch out to other groups now, not just my own.”
Donald Lodge, co-director of the Rainbow Pride Union, said he hopes to collaborate with other student groups this semester.
“We want to work with other groups to hold anti-homophobic events in different communities,” said Lodge, a junior double-majoring in political science and Chinese.
Shannon Spearing, a member of the the African Student Organization and a junior double-majoring in Africana studies and history, said the group has benefited from collaborating with other cultural groups.
“We all have similar goals,” she said. “We want to educate the campus about diverse cultures — we just cover different topics.”
Nicole Sirju-Johnson, director of Multicultural Resource Center, said she hopes to make the fair a bi-annual event.
“[Students attending] will receive a survey with questions about what they liked, what they didn’t like,” she said. “That will help us do our program better.”