On Saturday September 3 at 1 p.m. the Africana, Latin American, Asian American and Native American (ALANA) Cultural Center hosted a barbeque to introduce students to the organizations ALANA partners with. Students were encouraged to eat barbecue food and ice cream as they meandered outside of ALANA, visiting with students and professionals who dedicate their time to making Colgate an inclusive community through their respective organizations. Entertainment was provided by the Camden Sophisticated Sisters drill team and drum line that captivated spectators for the latter half of the event.
The organizations that were present included Center for Women’s Studies, LGBTQ Initiatives, African and Latin American Studies (ALST), Latin American Student Organization, Black Student Union, African Student Union and Sisters of the Round Table. However, ALANA is home to many other student organizations; the center fills a particular niche for many students on campus looking for support and community that outlasts the time students spend at Colgate. Jamie Gagliano ’16 returned after graduating in May to work as the Program Assistant for African and Latin American Studies.
“I wouldn’t have come back for anything else,” Gagliano said.
Many students behind the information tables had been participating in their organization since their first year. If the free candy was not enough to captivate new members, the smiles and stories that they shared certainly did. Although the organizations were created as havens for students from specific cultural backgrounds, all students are welcome and encouraged to come share and learn more about the lives of their peers.
“It’s all about sharing our experiences,” senior Adrielle Jefferson said.
The inclusivity of the organizations present was apparent, yet many are still working to improve their programs and reach more students. The LGBTQ Initiatives host Family Dinners and help send students to conferences like National Gay and Lesbian Task Force-Creating Change. Their organization is also well known for their Safe Zone Training that equips individuals and groups with the skills and awareness to create supportive and informed environments.
Even the entertainment sought out for the event was an example of the
importance and impact programs designed to create safe spaces for individuals can have. Camden Sophisticated Sisters is a non-profit organization that empowers young people with the practice and mastery of performing arts. At ALANApalooza, viewers saw kids of all ages demonstrate their discipline and passion for step dancing and music. They specifically visit universities to expose their participants to places of higher education, as the program is about helping their members reach their full potential in all areas of life.
Attendees were treated to ice cream at the event provided by Gilligan’s in Sherburne. Gilligan’s often provides cold treats for Colgate events. A representative from Gilligan’s in Sherburne, James Niles, added to the cheerful tone of the afternoon with his enthusiasm for Colgate.
“We love [suppplying ice cream to Colgate] and we’ve never had a bad
experience,” Niles said.
ALANApalooza continues to exemplify the tradition of acceptance and inclusivity on Colgate’s campus. It is safe to say that Colgate students can look
forward to this event for years to come.