The College officially kicked off the holiday season last Thursday with Snowfest ’04, a community service and social event combined with a celebration of different cultures.
The event, which was started in 1988 by College Union Board and the Student Government Association (SGA), highlights the diversity of the campus.
Speeches were given on the steps of Green Hall before Santa led the crowd to Brower Student Center, where student organizations made crafts to donate to the Ewing Head Start and Mercer Child Care Center programs.
Mary-Elaine Perry, vice president of Student Life, was impressed with the success of the night. “It seems over the years they have made an effort for religious and ethnic diversity,” Perry said.
Katrina Wong, president of Asian American Association (AAA), agreed. Although she
felt the event could have been better publicized, she said that it was beneficial and covered an array of different cultures and holidays.
After President R. Barbara Gitenstein lit the Christmas tree in front of Green Hall, leaders from various campus organizations explained the significance of the traditions they celebrate.
Pedro Khoury, SGA executive president, first noted how important it is that everyone on campus comes together during the
holiday season, saying that he hoped the students at the College could contribute to working for peace on earth.
Wong spoke about the Chinese New Year, the most elaborate, colorful and important of the Chinese celebrations. “It signifies turning over a new leaf,” Wong said.
Shannon McCray, president of Black Student Union (BSU), spoke about the seven-day African-American and Pan-American holiday of Kwanzaa, which has seven corresponding principles: unity, self-determination, collective work, cooperative economics, purpose, creation and faith. The holiday helps people to reaffirm their commitment to their culture while learning more about themselves.
Anup Shah, SGA vice president of Community Relations, gave a speech about Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights, which was celebrated on Nov. 12 and signifies a new financial year.
Bethany Shifrin, vice president of relition for the Jewish Student Union (JSU), told the story of Hanukkah, while Joanna Holguin, vice president of Uni?n Latina, gave the Latin American view of Christmas. It incorporates Three King’s Day, which falls on Jan. 6 and commemorates the Magi bringing gifts for Jesus after his birth.
Dave Herman, representing InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, told the story of the birth of Jesus from the Bible, turning away from the secular story of Santa bringing presents for children.
Fatima Mughal, representing the Islamic Society, spoke about Ramadan, a month-long holiday of fasting.
To conclude the event, Brianna Moles sung “Let There be Peace on Earth” and Father Joseph Hlubik gave Benediction.