SJU Celebrates Annual Cultural Mixer



Lambda Pi Chi Sorority, Inc. was one of the groups in attendance at the mixer.

Alexis Gaskin, Staff Writer

This past Friday, Sept. 15, 2017, the Office of Multicultural Affairs, in collaboration with over 60 different student organizations, hosted its fourth annual Multicultural Mixer on the Great Lawn. Hundreds of St. John’s students came out for fun, food and an overall good time with music from DJ Zeke.

Several of the cultural organizations on campus, such as Haraya, Spectrum and the Irish Society, lined the perimeter of the Great Lawn. Different food was served as people chatted and got information on the many cultural organizations. It was a mixer of different cultures, with people receiving temporary Henna tattoos and their names written in Chinese calligraphy. Lines of people surrounded tables of food featuring dumplings, pizza, egg rolls and Boba tea.

Some students said that it is an event they look forward to every year.

“I really like it, last year I couldn’t experience it because my class went late, but I still go to come to see what it was all about,” sophomore Rubaiya Anika said.

Anika, born in Bangladesh, expressed her views on diversity in America and on campus saying, “I go by the name Ruby. The first time I came to the USA it was an exchange year and the woman who was looking after me, she couldn’t pronounce my name. It was in South Carolina, they don’t have a lot of diversity, so she gave me the name Ruby.”

As an avid lover of Bollywood music and dancing, Anika said she was excited for the united community of the different cultures and people in a social setting with music, dancing and conversation.

“It should grow bigger, with the campus being so diverse. It should be showcased more,” Anika said of the mixer.

Director of Multicultural Affairs Rosa Yen who is one of the creators of this event,  spoke to the students and had representatives from different cultural organizations come to the stage.

A reading of the Qur’an was done in both Arabic and English by members of the Muslim Students Association along with a prayer given by Sikh members of St. John’s.

The display of different students was concluded when senior Kenneth Shelton, a member of Students of Consciousness, united the crowd in a moment of silence with raised fists.

After Shelton’s speech, dozens of purple and white balloons were released into the sky as a vigil for the people lost to hate crimes, racism and brutality, such as Trayvon Martin and Freddy Gray.

Shelton described his gratitude for events like the multicultural mixer and emphasized the University’s need to extend diversity to its faculty.

“I think that this event is important, but it’s even more important for what we do afterward. In what St. John’s does. We need to be diverse in terms of our faculty, in terms of our administration,” Shelton said.

Yen then spoke to the crowd about St. John’s sticking together through dire times and said the mixer was influenced by many events that have plagued the world; from neo-Nazis in Charlottesville, to the impact Hurricanes Irma and Harvey have had on cultural communities.

The words of Shelton resonated with many of the students. “It’s most important because there is a world outside of St. John’s, outside of these gates. We need to speak out for this diversity. The opposite of white supremacy is black and brown power, it’s not just about all of us being in the room, it’s about us having a seat at the table and some giving up their seats.”