Cultural groups on campus gathered in Lecture Hall last night to hold Binghamton University’s first-ever Cultural Unity Forum.
The panel consisted of members from the Diverse Cultural Xcellence (DCX), the Caribbean Student Association, the Rainbow Pride Union and B.L.A.C.K. Unity — Blacks, Latinos, Asians & Caucasians Keeping Unity.
Other groups such as the Binghamton Association For Mixed Students were represented, but were not part of the panel. 26 people attended, including alumni from some of the groups.
The event was the final part of Diversity Week, which began Monday. The purpose of the forum was to solve problems of division between the various cultural groups at Binghamton, according to Rosemary Aquino, DCX’s treasurer and a junior double-majoring in comparative literature and Latin American and Caribbean Area Studies.
“We are looking at the reasons behind the division among cultural groups and why more groups aren’t working together,” Aquino said.
Topics included conflicting groups, umbrella groups, résumé padding, Student Association involvement and spacing issues. The panelists each discussed the different sides to the issues.
Schuchanna Adlam, panelist and events coordinator for B.L.A.C.K. Unity, said there are differences between similar groups.
“When B.L.A.C.K. Unity first started, there were many groups who didn’t like it because they didn’t realize it was an acronym,” Adlam said.
On the other hand, Samantha Suggs-Brown, panelist and CSA vice president, mentioned the possibility of offshoot groups being used for personal gain.
“I feel like people are joining these groups as a résumé builder, and that’s the real problem,” Suggs-Brown said.
The issue of groups sharing space on campus was also addressed. Adlam, a senior double-majoring in sociology and human development, said she does not like sharing space with other groups.
“We need our own space so I can go in and find my stuff and say, ‘Yes, I left this here,’” Adlam said.
Donald Lodge — panelist, public director of the RPU and a sophomore double-majoring in political science and Chinese — brought up his willingness to share space.
“We have offered to share our offices with SHADES, but they wanted to do things on their own,” Lodge said. “We would be willing to share space with groups who approach us.”
Both Adlam and Shantae Blount — panelist, DCX president and a senior double-majoring in graphics design and women’s studies, expressed interest in SA involvement with cultural groups outside the budget. The possibility of an umbrella group such as the Asian Student Union for minority groups was another topic of discussion.
Tiffany Dubon, DCX adviser and a graduate student studying student affairs administration, mediated the panel.
Dubon said she wants to see the event expand in the future.
“[I] hope to do it again with more groups on the panel, and hopefully we can get to the point where we can come up with better solutions to challenges we face,” Dubon said.
On a final note, Dubon stressed the necessity for unity between all the cultural groups.
“We have to remember to support each other, even if it’s just once in a blue moon,” Dubon said.