Music and dance help promote cultural awareness on campus

Anyone who walked through Brower Student Center on Nov. 15 was probably blown away by the number of people and the amount of noise filling it, due to the Black Student Union’s (BSU) Cultural Day.

In an effort to bring a diverse atmosphere to the College, BSU held the upbeat event to educate students about the cultures of the African Diaspora.

Anthony Smith, vice president of multicultural affairs for BSU, said he was in charge of Cultural Day and wanted to expose the students to cultures that they may not have known about before.

Probably the most well-received performance of the night was that of the Afro-One Dance Team from Willingboro, N.J. Directed by Pat Reid-Marriott, the dance team performed traditional African music and dances for an energized audience.

Students cheered and danced, showing immense support.

Some of the Greek organizations, such as Sigma Gamma Rho, also performed.

“I think what came out of Cultural Day was an experience that students will not forget, especially those who have never been exposed to this type of environment or culture before,” Smith said.

“That is the main purpose of Cultural Day, which is to expose all students of different races and backgrounds to the African-American culture through dance, Greek stepping and knowledge of the African-American presence on this campus.”

Based on the crowd of people in the student center, the goal was achieved.

Most of the students in the crowd belonged to the organizations whose members spoke or perform and were there to support their other members. Those not involved in minority organizations or activities on campus were largely absent.

“I would have liked if all student organizations on campus attended the events,” Smith said.

This sentiment was echoed by Shellyann East, president of the Carribean Student Association (CaribSA).

“I would have liked to have had more people,” East said.

“We can only serve (students) if (they) utilize the programs we have,” Paul Harris Jr., BSU trustee, said. BSU wants to “better serve students culturally, intellectually, politically and socially,” Harris said.

Seventeen different student organizations, including Uni?n Latina (UL), the African-American Cultural Awareness Association (AACAA) and the Indian Student Association (ISA), were present and offered information at their own tables. The organizations also took the stage to give information about their plans for the future and invite others to their meetings.

The National Council of Negro Women (NCNW), which does community service to raise the level of consciousness about African-American women, said that it wants to improve the lives of minority women on campus. While UL reminded the audience members that they did not have to be Latino to join the club, which wants to promote culture on campus with various educational programs throughout the year.

Based on the feedback from students that Smith received, he could tell that those who attended Cultural Day were impressed. People want more events like this from BSU, Smith said.

“Next year I would like to see a bigger turn out and to see if it could possibly be a week long celebration with more events and possibly a bigger attendance of students from the campus community,” Smith said.