Binghamton Association for Mixed Students celebrates Asian, African and European cultures

Third-annual BAMS week draws students to a number of events all over campus

The Binghamton Association for Mixed Students (BAMS) has spent the past few days hosting the third annual BAMS week, with events aimed to highlight the importance of diversity and learning about different cultures.

Slide Show

The theme of this year’s BAMS week was “A World Tour” and featured games, dances and an open mic poetry slam.

“We agreed that the theme would revolve around visiting each continent and giving people a brief introduction to the non-stereotypical aspects of each,” Shantal McNeil, the president of BAMS and a senior majoring in political science, wrote in an email.

Monday’s event, “Religion in Asia,” focused on the similarities and differences of religion, language and rituals in different Asian countries. At the end of the event, students participated in transcendental meditation, which organizers said was a popular form of relaxation in many Asian countries.

In Tuesday’s meeting, “Cultural Conflicts in Europe,” attendees discussed the different issues that divided Europe and helped form new countries. This event focused on the conflicts in former Yugoslavia and current Ukraine.

For “Traditions in Africa” on Wednesday, students rotated between stations in the Old University Union, where each provided a history of different African traditions and rituals. Attendees then participated in activities like children’s games, a naming ceremony and a demonstration of how African women carry babies on their backs.

“BAMS SLAM,” held on Thursday night, was an open mic poetry slam where students were invited to perform music poetry with others.

On Friday, BAMS is hosting a fiesta where students can learn traditional South American dances.

Daniel Tucker, the treasurer of BAMS and a senior majoring in actuarial science, said these events would appeal to students trying to learn about people from different regions of the world.

“The purpose of the events this week are to appreciate and spread understanding of our different, mixed cultures and have fun while doing it,” Tucker said.

Karen Walker, an intern with BAMS and a sophomore with an individualized major program studying consulting and leadership, attended “BAMS SLAM” and Monday’s “Religion in Asia.” She said that more students should attend BAMS events.

“I definitely think everyone should come to BAMS because we talk about issues that all people face, like cultural issues,” Walker said. “But, we’re very open to everyone and we have really great discussions and you learn a lot.”

McNeil said that BAMS week represented the goals of the club as a whole.

“As an organization we promote the importance of intercultural awareness and acceptance, through forums, events and guest speakers,” McNeil wrote. “Our mission is to introduce different aspects of different cultures to people who would not normally encounter them in their daily lives.”