ALST Day Raises Awareness



Katherine Byrns

On Tuesday, October 14, you may have noticed colorful balloons and banners with the phrase “Explore Your World” around the Colgate campus. This was done in celebration of Africana and Latin American Studies (ALST) Day, the third annual celebration the department has hosted while being an established department at Colgate. ALST Day, which was started by Professor Brian Moore, Director of the ALST Department, features a series of events that span the entire day.

ALST started with a breakfast in the Center for Women’s Studies that featured a variety of ethnic foods from places such as Latin America and the Caribbean. Next was a Brown Bag Lunch at the African, Latin, Asian and Native American (ALANA) Cultural Center. The Latin American Students Organization (LASO) hosted this Brown Bag. The panelists discussed the presidential candidates in terms of their level of concern for minorities.

The next event was the annual DuBois Lecture featuring postmodernist author Ana Lydia Vega, entitled “How Does it Feel to Be a Problem? A Literary Dialogue with W.E.B. DuBois.” Each year, this lecture features a speaker from one of the four target areas of the ALST Department. This year, the department brought in Vega, a Caribbean writer. Vega addressed her works in terms of the works of W.E.B. DuBois, noting that many of the ideas that converge in her works align with those of DuBois. Specifically, she spoke of the concept of living behind the veil and the idea of the color line both in her works and in the works of DuBois.

She ended her speech with an excerpt of her book “Mirada de Doble Filo.” She provided her audience with an English translation of her work, but read it in Spanish, as she hoped that the audience could “grasp the elusive meaning that lies beyond words.”

Next was an information session held at Merrill House. Students were able to speak with classmates as well as faculty regarding the programs and courses offered through the department. The day ended with a dinner and Open Mic at Frank Dining Hall hosted by the African Student Union. The dining hall served all sorts of ethnic cuisine, and also featured several trivia tables. The trivia included geographical questions about Latin America, Africa and the Caribbean, and students who got questions right received ALST souveniers, including tote bags and biodegradable mugs. The student group “Poetically Minded” performed at the Open Mic.

This event was enormously successful and fulfilled its goal of further promoting the presence of ALST on campus. The department looks forward to another series of events just like this one next year.