At Hobart and William Smith Colleges, celebrating diversity is more than just lip service, and the annual Caribbean Student Association's Celebrate Diversity Dinner was a prime example of that.
“I really wanted people to come and experience the types of food and the types of music that people of the West Indies are accustomed to,” said Vassandra Bynoe, a William Smith junior and the club president.
Members of the Caribbean Student Association were excited about the success of the celebration.
“You can't get the calaloo you get in the Islands here. That stuff is so much more tender. It's not bitter,” said Assistant Director for Intercultural Affairs Chevy DeVaney '95.
“I would say the evening gave everyone a taste of the islands and an awareness of a different perspective. It gave you a sense of where people came from, who they are, and kind of what matters to them,” said Assistant Dean of Intercultural Affairs Donna Albro.
In its sixth year, the Celebrate Diversity Dinner was held at 6:30 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 26, in the Comstock Dining Room, located in Comstock Hall on the HWS campus. The menu included traditional Caribbean food, including curried goat, fried plantains, steamed calaloo, potato salad, passion fruit juice, and black fruit cake, as well as several Latin dishes. Sasania Champagnie ’03, now of New York City, was the chef for the evening.
That same night, the Celebrate Diversity After-Party was held from 10 p.m. until 4 a.m. at The Barn. Caribbean soca band, SOLID 7.0, performed an upbeat fusion of calypso, reggae and folk music live during the event. With the temperature dipping below freezing, authentic Caribbean music heated up Geneva as the community celebrated its likenesses and differences into the morning.
The Caribbean Student Association, founded in 1999, is dedicated to educating the community about the cultural, political and social issues surrounding the Caribbean region. By dispelling various stereotypes and misconceptions, the student-run organization hopes to create further awareness of and respect for the Caribbean culture.
Several people were featured in the Feb. 20 Finger Lakes Times article “HWS group prepares for diversity meal.”