By Kelly Corbett
In between bites of falafel, pierogies and churros, students took a trip around the world — or rather, just around the Brower Student Center — as Student Government’s Center for Equity and Diversity hosted TCNJ Epcot on Thursday, March 24.
Aimed at helping the campus expand its cultural knowledge, promote diversity and launch students into a deeper conversation about cultural differences, the event featured 20 different cultures.
A rainbow of streamers and national flags draped from the Atrium’s ceiling as students swarmed to see the main spectacle of the night — the performers. Whether they were recording a Snapchat video or cheering on their friends, all eyes were focused on the rhythmic jives of the nine groups that performed. Sigma Lambda Beta got down on the dance floor to “Down in the DM,” Union Latino’s dance group, Ritmo Latino, treated the audience to some suave partner footwork and the TCNJ Association of Students for Africa Dance Team incorporated some booty shaking and backflip action into its routine.
Other festivities of the night included a mechanical bull challenging students to hold on, sumo wrestling matches, henna tattoos and a photo booth where students could pick from a variety of landmark backgrounds, such as the Eiffel Tower or the Great Pyramid of Giza.
The student center was lined with tables informing students of the various cultures represented that night. Sigma Lambda Gamma supported breast cancer awareness by having students put their beer pong skills to the test, during which students aimed for bras instead of red solo cups, to learn a fact about breast cancer.
At Sigma Lambda Beta’s table, students could design their own masks, adding colors and symbols representative of their culture. The Global Minds, which promotes diversity and helps international students integrate into the College campus, had a table that invited students to mark where they are from on a world map and any locations that they have visited.
Senior communication studies major and Ritmo Latino performer Orlando Salas said that events like TCNJ Epcot are important because of the lack of diversity on campus.
“As a minority, I do feel very isolated from the student body here on campus, but with events like Epcot, we were able to educate the student body about the different cultures that are underrepresented on campus,” Salas said. He also said he believes cultural events are significant in the betterment of the campus community.
Created last year, this event was made with the expectation that it would become a TCNJ Legacy Event, Student Government’s Vice President for Equity and Diversity Priscilla Nuñez said. She said the committee wanted “a fun event to educate the TCNJ community at large about different cultures.”
This year’s event took about four months to prepare, as the committee had to work around all the student center renovation obstacles.
“The logistics always become problematic with contracts and how many things are time sensitive, but the Student Finance Board student activities and student center staff really worked together with me to make TCNJ Epcot a success,” she said.