If you haven’t been to the Africana, Latin American, Asian American and Native American Cultural Center (ALANA) this semester, Thursday’s event, ALANApalooza would have been the perfect day to truly experience everything it has to offer. Walking up to the event felt like walking up to a small neighborhood block party. The grills on the patio were fired up, comforting those of us who miss summer barbeques.
The BrYan SorensEn Groove Trio’s cover of “Uptown Funk” could be heard from down the hill. Dean of Students Scott Brown was in attendance, sporting his signature Colgate cap, and people young and old lined up to pose with the Colgate Raider mascot. Overall the atmosphere was everything ALANA wanted it to be: friendly, happy and accepting. Many groups from around campus that support and promote acceptance were surrounding the patio, talking to guests and handing out cool and free ‘gate gear. These included the Center of Women’s Studies, the Africana department, the Colgate radio station and campus LGBTQ organizations. It was refreshing to see the Colgate clubs and organizations intermingling at such an important event on campus.
The entertainment also contributed to this sociable environment. Just as the masses were beginning to arrive, the BrYan SorensEn Groove Trio began their first set. They covered songs like Blackstreet’s “No Diggity,” as well as some original pieces. As soon as they began playing, heads immediately started nodding to the beat: the ultimate sign of a good set. The Groove Trio was followed by DJ Chino Loco, who played the obligatory “Cupid Shuffle” and “Casper Slide,” forcing people onto the dance floor, including the Raider mascot.
After the requisite line dancing concluded, poet Ernestine Johnson was introduced to the crowd. She performed twospoken word pieces titled, “Not the Average Black Girl” and “Dear Black Man,” that focused on the marginalization and stereotyping of African-American people. As her poems ended, applause ensued by everyone present, along with whistles, words of encouragement and approval. It was an intimate moment shared by a large group.
ALANApalooza exemplified everything Colgate is trying to do in order to promote and implement inclusivity and acceptance around campus. Johnson had wonderful things to say about this event.
“Diversity is anything out of the norm for us,” Johnson said. “I love what we are doing [at Colgate] with the multicultural program. More schools should do things like this to get students excited to get involved.”
Hopefully the acknowledgement, tolerance and acceptance of the many cultures on campus will exceed the boundaries of the ALANA patio and be emulated in day-to-day Colgate life.