The African, Latin, Asian & Native American Cultural Center (ALANA) kicked off the year with their fifth annual ALANApalooza, a free event where students, faculty and staff reunited after the summer while enjoying ethnic music and of course, free food. ALANApalooza succeeded in the vein of its inspiration, Chicago’s infamous Lollapalooza Music Festival, bringing together a diverse group of people looking to relax, learn about different cultures and enjoy themselves.
Thomas Cruz-Soto began the tradition when he assumed his position as Assistant Dean of Multicultural Affairs five years ago. Since then, ALANApalooza has become a favorite among ALANA’s members. While functioning to welcome both new and returning students, the event also provides an opportunity for the Colgate community to experience what ALANA is all about.
Adhering to the Cultural Center’s mission to bring students from diverse backgrounds together, ALANApalooza exposes students to different kinds of entertainment and opportunities around campus. Student and faculty representatives from the Center for Outreach, Volunteerism and Education (COVE), Outdoor Education and the Office of Admission set up tables and handed out information to get students involved.
Whether you are from the Class of 2015 or the Class of 2012, the event offered new experiences that students might not have previously considered. Many of the opportunities are available to students at any stage in their Colgate careers, such as the COVE’s Alternative Break Program that sends a select group of students to do community service over school breaks.
“I originally just went for the free food, but a table there got me thinking it would be really fun to go to the Dominican Republic,” sophomore Madeline Tennis admitted.
Outreach Programming Coordinator Eliza Bronzo made a special effort to include the entire Hamilton community in this year’s event. In addition to putting invitations in each student’s mailbox, members of ALANA dropped them off in the residential areas in the village. Bronzo emphasized the importance of getting the town involved. Representatives for Hamilton Arts Center had a table at the event.
“They’ve done so much for us, and we want to support them and see them succeed,” Bronzo said.
ALANA member James Speight said his favorite part of the annual event is “coming and seeing all the new faces.” Bronzo points out it’s a “very impressionable time. Students are all happy and excited to be back, so we like to capitalize on that.”
The more students who show an interest in ALANA, the more effectively its initiatives spread throughout the community. Members made it easy for students to get involved, asking for their e-mails, which they promised not to contact more than twice a week with updates and ALANA events. In exchange for student interest, they handed out free t-shirts and cake (sure-fire attractions for any Colgate student tired of the Frank dining experience).
Every year, ALANA attracts more support from students interested in maintaining minority interests on campus. However, ALANApalooza epitomizes the effort made in all their events to include anyone from the Colgate and general Hamilton area interested in supporting the cause, regardless of beliefs, race or gender.
Contact Sarah Baranes at [email protected]