Binghamton University held its seventh annual Multicultural Extravaganza in celebration of cultural diversity.
On Saturday, BU students gathered at the Peace Quad to honor the University’s diverse cultures. Students from various multicultural organizations, such as the Binghamton Association of Mixed Students (BAMS) and the Black Student Union, came to share their mission with interested visitors.
The event was hosted by the Student Association’s vice president of multicultural affairs (VPMA) office and the University’s Multicultural Resource Center (MRC), as a way to celebrate diversity and give students looking for a familiar support system the opportunity to discover multicultural communities on campus. Angel Avila, the MRC’s Graduate Assistant for Administration and a second-year graduate student studying business administration, represented the MRC at the event. He said the MRC’s mission is to create an inclusive environment that students of any background are encouraged to visit.
“The MRC is a safe space on campus for all students, but especially for students of the multicultural community, to come in and utilize all the resources we have available within the center,” Avila said. “Whether it’s using the study space, using the TV to relax and get your mind right, coming in to fill in a resource request to change for your organization, or even utilizing the multifaith prayer meditation room, which is open 24/7 for all students.”
The Thai Student Organization (TSO) was one club that tabled at the event. Andrew Leung, vice president of TSO and a junior majoring in computer engineering, described the TSO as an inclusive “social club” that educates students about Thai culture.
“Our mission is to spread Thai culture,” Leung said. “We have our social club, so we want to expand to as many people as possible. You don’t have to be Thai to come and enjoy our events.”
Adejo Ibrahim, a sophomore majoring in economics, represented the Men of Color Scholastic Society. According to Ibrahim, the club aims to help men of multicultural backgrounds find a safe and inclusive community.
“Our mission is to increase professionalism and academic success and also provide a safe space on campus for men of color,” Ibrahim said. “Our organization is important because sometimes it can feel like there’s not a lot of us on campus, and it’s nice to see all of us together in one room, and we can talk about things that bother us, things that we find joy in and just build a community.”
Performers from various multicultural dance organizations were also present. Many of these groups celebrated culture through traditional dances, including Bachata, Merengue, Salsa and more.
Mariani Bautista, a junior majoring in human development, was one of the performers. She is part of the Quimbamba Latin Dance Team, founded in 1970. Bautista said the dance team brings together students interested in Latin dance to perform alongside one another in a safe environment.
“Our purpose for our dance team is to bring Latin culture and Latin dance to the BU campus, and to provide a space for Latin students or students of color who feel comfortable dancing here at [BU’s] campus.” Bautista said. “We have our auditions coming up on Sept. 17 at 5 [p.m.] in [University Union Room] 206.”
Several students who attended the festivities described their interests in BU’s multicultural activities.
Angela Zheng, an undeclared freshman, said she was interested in learning about BU’s multicultural organizations in the hopes of finding one with which she can identify. Zheng shared that she also learned about BU’s sexual and sanitary health options.
“I came to today’s event to scope out what the school had to offer, the clubs here and to meet people like me here,” Zheng said. “I learned you can request condoms and pads to your dorm, which is pretty cool.”
Dahlia Morel, an undeclared freshman, said she attended the event in search of an opportunity to become more involved on campus, and took particular interest in the Dominican Student Association.
“I’m a freshman, so I think it’s important to get involved where I can and learn about things that interest me,” Morel said. “I was at the Latin [American Student Union] meeting, and I wanted to learn new things and about new clubs. I learned that [BU] has a Dominican Student Association, which I think is cool because I am Dominican, and I think it is important to stay involved in my culture while I am here.”