As I put my hands on my keyboard to start writing this blog, I found myself smiling about this week’s events. It was a busy but fantastic week, largely due to the Eid dinner event that I helped organize on Friday. As the president of the Muslim Student Association (MSA), I hosted the event, which turned out to be a huge success. Much time and effort had been spent behind the planning and the turnout was very encouraging. Needless to say I feel very happy to have had this opportunity as a sophomore to lead MSA as its president.
On the day of the event, I positioned myself in front of Marlo Room, eager to greet fellow students and guests coming to learn about Eid. Seeing all the people attending brought tremendous joy to me. By the time the event started, Marlo Room was filled with 200 people who are interested in a different culture.
The crowd quieted down as the first presentation started. It was a beautiful Power Point presentation presented by our very own Lafayette Professor Youssa Patel. Professor Patel passionately explained about Eid al-Adha, the Festival of Sacrifice celebrated by Muslims around the world. At the end of the presentation, various Muslim students stood up in front of the crowd and proudly explained how they celebrate this tradition at their home country.
After we provided the audience with education, we celebrated this event with some entertainment. MAFia (Music Appreciation Floor) members played some ethnic percussion instruments, girls put on Henna, showing it to their friends and enjoying the artwork, and everybody participated in the Jeopardy game about Islam and the festival in general. The dinner itself was very delicious and everyone had a great time. I was very happy with the outcome of this event as I was able to see everyone smiling and enjoying themselves.
Since the event, I’ve been wondering why I’m so happy about the outcome of the event. How come so many people showed up? The answer to these questions is several campus organizations such as Hillel, Newman, Grossman House, Asian Cultural Association and several others. In addition, several RAs made the event their floor programs. I also had some wonderful volunteers to help out eagerly. Above all, the cooperation among the different clubs and organizations and the willingness to recognize different cultures, identities and practices are hence raising awareness and opening many diverse opportunities among the college community.
Another great example of intercultural participation this week was the Noche de Cultura event organized by the Hispanic Society. The event was successful as one of the participants wrote the following on Facebook – “Muchas Gracias Mi Gente. Hispanic Heritage Month was insightful, informative, and entertaining. From Ballet Hispanico to Alex Cuba to the grand finale, Noche de Cultura, Lafayette has been exposed to beautiful cultures from around the world”. It’s indeed a very encouraging sign for interfaith and intercultural organizations on campus.