ALANAPalooza Overcomes Setbacks

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 MELANATED dance group delivers an energetic performance at ALANAPalooza.

Lauren Hutton

With music blaring, dance performances captivating crowds and the smell of barbecue infiltrating the air outside of the Africana, Latin American, Asian American and Native American Cultural Center (ALANA), this year’s ALANAPalooza proved both lively and meaningful.

While initially scheduled for 4:30 p.m. on September 7, rain pushed the event’s starting time to 5 p.m. Ultimately the weather remained clear enough to avoid relocating inside. Faculty and students gathered to enjoy barbecue, ice cream, free T-shirts and a plethora of favors from various clubs on campus that strive to create an inclusive environment for the Colgate community.

While DJ Tay began his set after initial technical difficulties, the vibrant and upbeat atmosphere was apparent from the start.

“There are some technical difficulties with the DJ, but this is a great turnout so I’m excited about that. I like the fact that everybody is improvising and the vibe is still good. I think it shows that the staff is flexible, and you can’t fix everything but regardless do your best,” Assistant Dean and Director of International Student Services Kerra Hunter said.

A variety of organizations including Mosaic, Women’s Studies, LGBTQ Initiatives, African and Latin American Studies (ALST), Latin American Student Organization, South Asian Culture Club, Black Student Union, African Student Union and Sisters of the Round Table reached out to student attendees to talk about the respective clubs.  

Junior Alicia Carter spoke with students about Mosaic.

“You don’t have to be multicultural to join, but a lot of members identify as multicultural, whether they’re international students or they’re biracial or transracially adopted. Our main goal is to educate about multiculturalism, but also to create a sense of community and a group of friends,” Carter said.

Another table focused on LGBTQ initiatives and encouraged individuals to join Lambda, a group for queer and questioning students, and Queer People of Color.

“We’re just here to raise awareness of the opportunities and resources that are available on campus. We have this thing called ‘The Closet’ or ‘A Closet’ specifically for transgender or gender nonconforming people who are maybe trying to transition publicly or feel more at home in their own bodies,” senior Taylor Huffer said.

The Closet collects clothes for individuals who may not have the resources to alter their closet or dress in a manner that is most comfortable to them.

“We just try to make sure that Colgate is living up to its name in being equitable to students,” Huffer said.

Another booth provided information on the ALST concentration and related clubs and activities.

Senior Alma Brizio, who has attended ALANAPalooza for the past four years, discussed the benefits of promoting there.

“It’s definitely been successful in getting people to sign up to get newsletters and support our events throughout the year and get the word out about the program,” Brizio said.

Halfway through the event, dance group MELANATED performed several songs on the center of the patio. The crowd made room for the performance and remained captivated throughout the piece.

“That was a great performance. They were really in unison and there was lots of character in each of their individual performances as well. It was good stuff,” first-year Kenny Linder said.

Many attendees appreciated the inclusive and unifying nature of the event.

“I’m attending because I feel like this is a very safe space. Personally, I’m a POC [Person of Color] and there are a lot of POCs here so I just feel comfortable and accepted. It’s also fun,” sophomore Diana Dimas said.

Despite initial technological and weather-related struggles, this year’s ALANAPalooza proved both spirited and meaningful for many members of the Colgate community.

Contact Lauren Hutton

at [email protected]