Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Food and Fun

Students engage with the Office for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at its table in the Angell College Center.

 

By Cinara Marquis

The room was filled with the flavorful aroma of Cajun food and vibrant rhythms. Behind the celebration was a meaningful message about the ties between cultures and traditions.

Together with Chartwells, the Office for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion celebrated Mardi Gras as part of SUNY Plattsburgh’s Black History Month programming. The party was held on Feb. 13 in the evening at the Clinton Dining Hall.

Mardi Gras is a holiday full of food and festivities, welcoming the coming spring. Observed around the world, it is an important time for many groups of people to celebrate life and all of the amazing things it has to offer.

“This is an important time to celebrate the fusion of music, food, and traditions,” Allison Heard, vice president of DEI, wrote in an email.

The cuisine is especially celebrated – it is customary to consume rich, fatty meals during Mardi Gras in advance of the lighter foods of the warmer months. The origins of the celebration comes from the French term Mardi Gras, which translates to ‘Fat Tuesday.’

Heard wrote: “For many cultural groups, food provides an important glimpse into their history and people. Food is one of the things that many students often say they miss when they go to college. Food can make people remember special times in their lives that often involve friends and loved ones. This event is important in acknowledging diverse palates around the world and gives us an opportunity to learn more about the legacy of food and our connections to one another.”

DEI and some student organizations set up tables with displays and details about the various clubs and resources on campus. DJ Skippy provided live music.

A wide range of delectable dishes were served, including breaded creole shrimp, chicken gumbo, mango slaw, jazzy jambalaya, okra with vegetables and many more.

Students David Cortina and Christian Reynolds chimed in about the party.

“We didn’t know what was going on, but we did like it,” Reynolds said.

Cortina said, “It was great. We liked the food a lot.”

Heard wrote about the importance of having these gatherings on campus: 

“It is important to host these events as a way to celebrate traditions that we may not always be familiar with. Although so much learning takes place in the classroom, we cannot expect to learn everything about life in these courses. It is important to remember that we are all multifaceted beings. We are not one thing or the other.”

Learning about, experiencing, and celebrating the traditions of other cultures is a beautiful way to honor those who came before us and be inclusive of those who are here with us now.

Sharing the rich tapestry of cultures through food and celebration was a delightful experience for all who came and left with a full belly.

Heard explained, “We want to make sure our students and employees understand the diverse global world in which we live so we can contribute with our unique and individual talents.”

 

To learn more about the Office of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion and other Black History Month events happening on campus, visit https://www.plattsburgh.edu/plattslife/diversity/index.html.

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