Each semester, representatives from cultural, global awareness and social justice clubs share dinner and plan for upcoming events. The Biannual Planning Dinner, sponsored by the Offices of Intercultural Affairs and Student Activities, is meant to encourage networking, conversation and collaboration between students and the various cultural clubs at HWS. Students from the Asian Student Union, Latin American Organization, Sankofa, Project Nur, HipNotiQs, PRIDE Alliance, and Caribbean Student Association were in attendance.
To exemplify coalition-building, leaders and board members for each organization engage in strategic activities to share leadership techniques, allowing students to offer advice and talk through issues that can arise in any student organization.
“The goal is providing students with support and showing them that they have support in each other, too,” explains Intercultural Affairs Assistant Director Darline Polanco Wattles.
“It is helpful to have face-to-face interactions with other clubs because it helps us discuss the events that we are planning with more clarity,” adds Jerlin Garo ’17, vice president of LAO. “If there are any conflicts in terms of the dates or time of events, it is easier to fix it and talk it through at the moment.”
Additionally, the dinner lends itself as a space for students to plan collaborations on future events. Leaders of the different organizations brainstorm possibilities for connecting the missions of each distinct club to recreate the sense of shared belonging that is present during the dinner and in spaces across campus such as the Intercultural Affairs House.
“Even if clubs have no history of collaborating, there’s an opportunity for it, especially with the dinner as the first step,” reflects Neill Jaco ’16, a member of the Latin American Organization (LAO) and HipNotiQs step team.
Intercultural Affairs supports these efforts by offering itself as a meeting space and resource.
“We’re a host space and support system for these students,” she says. “Typically, those that meet here find a sense of place and home because of their unique identities.”
Upcoming events include:
Saturday, Feb. 13, the Asian Student Union will host its annual Lunar New Year celebration from 5:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Ramada Lakefront Inn.
Saturday, Feb. 13, the Caribbean Student Association hosts its annual Charity Date Auction in the Vandervort Room.
From Tuesday, Feb. 16 to Tuesday, Feb. 23, Sankofa will sponsor a week of events to commemorate Black History Month, including the Harlem Nights poetry event and Soul Food Night at Saga Dining Hall.
In March, Project Nur will offer a month dedicated to global awareness surrounding Islam and different regions of the world.