A sunny Sunday afternoon was filled with food, music and raffles as students made their way around the fourth-annual Multicultural Extravaganza (ME) at the Old Dickinson field on the Binghamton University campus.
The ME is a part of the Intercultural Welcome Kick-off Series which includes other events such as the New Student of Color Networking Fair, the Diversity Leadership Reception and Culture Chats. Giveaways, prizes, performances and presentations by several cultural student organizations were included at the extravaganza. The event was sponsored by various on-campus organizations including the Q Center, the Multicultural Resource Center (MRC) and the Student Association (SA) vice president for multicultural affairs.
Khaleel James, vice president for multicultural affairs and a junior double-majoring in economics and human development, said the event continues the tradition of highlighting cultural organizations.
“I find it very important for all different types of cultures to be recognized on campus,” James said. “That way, students come into the University knowing that there are other people here that want to celebrate and explore what makes them unique. We hope that students who attend realize that we are exposing them to knowledge as well as familiar faces on campus so they always feel at home.”
LaToya Foster, ‘12, an alumni advisor of Diverse Cultural Xcellence, said the event has grown in size and culture since its inception.
“I was here last year, and I definitely think that there are a lot more groups, which brings new energy to the event,” Foster said. “This year we have a stage, which also helps to bring more attention to the groups as well as the amazing and creative performances and music everyone has to share.”
Several organizations tabling, including the Caribbean Student Association (CSA), wanted to make the event more widespread and focus on the diversity of cultures on campus. Sasha Darceuil, vice president of the CSA and a junior double-majoring in geography and Africana studies, said she was excited to table at the event because it gave her an opportunity to showcase her organization.
“We chose to table this event again because it really targets more students of color, and it helps to teach attendees about our organization, what we stand for and what we do on campus,” Darceuil said. “At the extravaganza, we get the main focus on multicultural groups that we don’t get anywhere else and more one-on-one interactions with students who might have been nervous or apprehensive at such a big event like [University Fest].”
Although the event was scheduled on the same weekend as University Fest and has similar intentions of introducing students to different organizations, some attendees said they tend to get more exposure to specific groups at smaller events such as the ME. Jeannie Alonzo, office director for the vice president of multicultural affairs and a senior majoring in integrative neuroscience, said the event is more intimate than University Fest.
“[University Fest] can be intimidating with how many organizations are present, but the ME gives students a chance to really connect with the cultural organizations on campus and enjoy some food and performances from our amazing students as well,” Alonzo said. “We wanted to have this as a Welcome Week event, so having it later than the first weekend didn’t really fit in our plan, and by doing so, we maximized the number of students and organizations that could be present at the event.”
There were several groups who showcased their talents during live performances, including Binghamton Masti and Pretty Girls Sweat. Pablo Martinez, a junior majoring in business administration, said it was exciting to to see how passionate and involved students were, especially with their performances.
“A couple of my friends directed me to the event because I hadn’t really seen that many groups focused on ethnicity, so we just came to check it out and see what it was like,” Martinez said. “I think that even though Binghamton University is a very diverse university, it is really refreshing to see how these different cultures can be highlighted and how much pride my peers have for the different cultures, plus the performers were really talented.”