Fairs and finding your place

Anya Grondalski, Staff Writer

Daniel Passapera

The smell of fried food filled the air as pop music rang through the quad. Within the first 10 minutes of the Culture Fair, student organization tables were crowded by interested students and friends celebrating community.

On Oct. 15, Quinnipiac University’s Multicultural Student Council (MSLC) hosted its annual Culture Fair on the quad. All cultural and identity organizations that are a part of MSLC were invited to table, hoping to showcase the array of identity organizations open to students looking for a home on campus.

In addition to speaking with organization leaders, attendees played cornhole, jumbo Jenga and inflatable Connect 4. There was lots of laughter and hugging and even some dancing, as friends came together to celebrate who they are.

The first 100 people at the fair received free vouchers to the food trucks: Jim’s Ice Cream, Mamoun’s Falafel Cart and Los Mariachis On Wheels.

Jomanah Samy, a sophomore biomedical science major and member of the Black Student Union, ordered soft tacos from Mariachis. Samy attended the fair hoping to have fun and feel included.

“We don’t have a lot of things like this on campus,” Samy said. “I feel like it’s really important to involve cultural organizations on campus.”

Kailen-Jade Wiggon-Brownie, a sophomore biomedical science major and international student from Jamaica, is not involved in any multicultural organizations. However, many of her friends are part of clubs on campus, and she said that being involved in identity organizations has done more than help them find their place at Quinnipiac.

“They go out for more leadership opportunities,” Wiggon-Brownie said. “And do stuff that they didn’t think they could do or thought they wouldn’t end up doing.”

Wiggon-Brownie offered a piece of advice to first-year students struggling to settle in.

“Don’t give up, you’ll find your people,” Wiggon- Brownie said. “You’ll find who makes you feel at home.”

Sean Doyle, a junior biochemistry major, echoed this sentiment.

“If you don’t have people around you who are like you, you are always going to feel like the odd one out,” Doyle said. “It’s really important to feel like you belong somewhere.”

Doyle tabled at the fair with the Italian Cultural Society. The organization decorated its table with a paper Italian flag, encouraging students to write positive messages and spread mental health awareness. Doyle is not Italian, but joined the organization because it was so welcoming.

“There will be an organization for you,” Doyle said. “You will find people who you vibe with.”

Executive chair of MSLC and senior in the entry-level master’s physician’s assistant program, Pratibha Thippa, first joined MSLC as a sophomore when the organization was officially chartered by the Student Government Association.

“I wanted to be in a community where I could interact with people from different backgrounds and cultures, and get to learn more about them,” Thippa said.

Thippa shared that there were added obstacles getting the event back on-ground this year after hosting it virtually in 2020, such as new procedures and extra steps required for getting events set up safely. But she loved seeing facilities and student organizations working together to bring back in-person events.

Thippa said the fair aimed to help students find people like them, people who share their values and identities.

“It gives more confidence to students to be able to express their identity and culture,” Thippa said. “… Everyone feels welcome.”