In an effort to foster a discussion about culture and ethnicity on the Binghamton University campus, BU’s chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) hosted its annual “Get to Know Us” panel on Wednesday, Sept. 5.
Held in the University Union, the panel featured various representatives from different multicultural organizations, including the African Student Organization (ASO), SHADES and the Latin American Student Union.
Aminata Jaiteh, president of BU’s chapter of NAACP and a senior majoring in psychology, sat among representatives from nine other multicultural organizations.
“You probably haven’t heard of or seen some of these organizations on campus,” Jaiteh said. “This is us reaching out to students.”
Yasmine Nartey, the vice president of ASO and a junior majoring in philosophy, politics and law, noted that her organization was a place for students to come learn about and celebrate their African heritage.
“We all have a responsibility to engage with the outside community,” Nartey said. “You may not identify with our culture, but you definitely will know what we’re about.”
Along with inclusivity and safety for students, all attending groups agreed that a big part of their organizations is the discussion of social issues. With an increase of racially motivated violence in the United States and the Trump administration’s actions toward immigrants, many organizations said they felt they had a responsibility to be more active in the community.
“Students probably wanted to do something and didn’t know where to start,” Jaiteh said. “We’re a platform and a resource for that.”
The groups also discussed the importance of working together, and agreed they would like to see more collaboration among multicultural groups.
According to Madjena Joseph, president of the Haitian Student Association and a senior majoring in integrative neuroscience, her organization wants to create inclusive events.
“We plan on having events that cater to the whole multicultural community so we don’t isolate certain groups,” Joseph said.
Rachel Anszelowicz, a junior triple-majoring in philosophy, classical and Near Eastern studies and philosophy, politics and law, said she attended in order to learn about each organization’s message and goals for the upcoming year. After running for president of the Student Association last year, Anszelowicz said she realized there were many groups on campus she knew nothing about.
“There’s lots of different multicultural organizations,” Anszelowicz said. “I want to learn about all the different groups.”