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Celebrating diversity takes a sweet turn

by Shelby Toth | news editor
Tue, Sep 25th 2018 12:00 pm

The Diversity Conference is The College at Brockport’s annual showcase to exhibit different cultures represented on campus. While the presentations and guest speakers never fail to impress, one event always stands out from the rest. That event was the Performance Showcase and International Dessert Sampling session.

 The session was exactly what it sounds like; combined performances from different on campus culture clubs as well as local organizations with desserts from all around the world. The event was held in the SERC Field House from 5:30 p.m. to 6:45 p.m.

Those in attendance were treated to foods from the Soviet Union (pomegranate zephyrs), Western Europe (chocolate truffles), Asia (mochi ice cream), Southeast USA (sweet potato pie), South Africa (malva pudding), the Middle East (baklava), Northeast USA (cornmeal pudding) and South America (pecan shortbread cookies). 

While people enjoyed various treats surrounding them, various groups took to the stage located at the front and center of the room. The groups that performed this year included Teen Empowerment with Spoken Word, Borinquen Dance Theatre Inc. with Caribbean and Modern Latin Dance, Sankofa with West African Dance, Association of Latinx American Students with Palos, Jong Min Lee with Guzheng and Deja Baxter with Lift Every Voice and Sing.

Paloma Santana-Viera, marketing director for the Association of Latinx American Students (ALAS) was part of the Palos dance performance. She’s explained that ALAS has been part of the Performance Showcase for years and makes sure that it always participate.

“I think it’s important to have different clubs perform because we all have different cultures we can share,” Santana-Viera said. “All cultures are rich and beautiful.”

Santana-Viera also talked about the piece the group performed, Palos.

“This year we decided to perform our Palos piece because it is a Dominican dance that gets in touch with our African roots,” Santana-Viera said. “We prepared the dance last semester for our big event La Gala, so we’ve been rehearsing the dance for some time. When we got back to campus we jumped right into rehearsals.”

The Performance Showcase and International Dessert Sampling session is always a popular session among the students at the college. Sophomore Mary Beavers attended the event for the second time, having to go her first year for a class.

“Last year it felt like more of a requirement, because I had to go for my APS class, but this year it’s a choice I got to make, and I chose to come here, and I’m excited to be here,” Beavers said.

Beavers, who noted that her favorite dish featured was the sweet potato pie, enjoyed the experience she was able to get from the showcase, one she might not have been able to get anywhere else.

“My favorite part is that I can eat foods from all different places that I’d never get to try before, while listening to people’s experiences and people performing their passion,” Beavers said.

Senior Chantal Yawson, also enjoyed the performance and food showcase, seeing her own representation up on stage.

“...I come from a West African background and sankofa is actually a word in my language, the twi language of Ghana, which means “go back and get it,” Yawson said. “This meaning could be taken literally or figuratively, so I just really enjoyed watching the manifestation of my culture on the stage.”

Yawson also noted why Diversity Day and the performance and food showcase are necessary.

“I definitely think the event is an important part of Diversity Day because we can talk about cultures all day, but if we don’t actually see it or experience it for ourselves how can we expect people to have some type of knowledge of it,” Yawson said.

The cultural aspects of the event are what makes it so important to bring back every year. At the end of the day, though, many students regularly make room in their already busy schedule in  order to have fun and enjoy the food and performances.

“My favorite part of the showcase and dessert fair will always be performing and sharing my culture with others, but this year I think they went above and beyond with the desserts,” Santana-Viera said. “There was not one dessert that I did not enjoy, and I feel they truly branched out with the variety this year compared to past years.”


brockport.news@gmail.com | @sheltoth98

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