Communities collide: Culture Night brings 15 student organizations under one roof

Julius Millan, Staff Writer

Illustration by (Shavonne Chin)

Just 30 minutes before Culture Night was scheduled to start, the piazza in the Carl Hansen Student Center was no more than an open space with seats and tables on the outskirts. The rooms adjacent to it were almost devoid of human activity. Within a few minutes, the space had already sprung to life on March 23.

For the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic shut down the world, Quinnipiac University’s Multicultural Student Leadership Council celebrated diversity on campus with Culture Night.

Most attendees, like Kerry Deasy, a junior English major and president of the Italian Cultural Society, took the time to fully appreciate Culture Night and immerse themselves in other cultures.

“It’s cool to have all the organizations be able to come together,” Deasy said. “We couldn’t do this last year, so to be able to do this now is such a blessing.”

Thirteen of Quinnipiac’s multicultural organizations shared food, fun and memories at Culture Night on March 23. Photo by (Connor Lawless)

Members of 15 different organizations, including two Greek Life groups, trickled in one-by-one to set their tables up. They replaced tablecloths that showed their respective club’s name, typically paired with a colorful tri-fold poster board that gave a brief description of each organization’s leadership and goals.

Anesu Mhene, a junior legal studies major and student organization liaison of the MSLC, said it was refreshing to see people come back together to celebrate their diversity for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic began in March 2020.

“It really feels like we are getting back to normal,” Mhene said.

When the event officially began at 8 p.m., the space was clearly bustling with activity, with over 100 people stopping in. For the next three hours, students enjoyed a diverse blend of food, songs and dances from different cultures. Most organizations brought a wealth of foods, including dumplings from the Polish Cultural Society and different kinds of sushi from the Asian Student Association. The African and Caribbean Student Union brought beef patties, the Black Student Union brought macaroni and cheese and the ICS brought chicken parmigiana. As the clubs organized their tables, members who helped set up chatted with each other while anticipation permeated the air.

Photo by (Connor Lawless)

Some sang and danced with the performers while others chatted away the evening with their friends.

This get-together of cultures was a nice experience for some, including Deasy, even if it was just for the many food options.

“It’s really cool to have a plate that has Italian food, sushi from the other table, empanadas from another table,” Deasy said. “It’s cool to see that kind of connection that we see here.”

Throughout the event, students trickled in and out of the space. Some merely came for the food while others wanted to see the songs and dances performed by their fellow students. Many attendees, like Cailinn Stockman, a junior sociology major, found a golden opportunity to enjoy the evening dedicated to celebrating everyone’s differences at Quinnipiac.

“It’s been nice to experience people’s traditions,” Stockman said. “QU is a whole community again with everyone sharing their traditions.”

Photo by (Connor Lawless)

For others, like first-year human resource management major Todd Bivens, this was a learning experience for those who were rarely exposed to many cultures.

“Learning more about everyone and seeing their traditions is a great thing to see,” Bivens said. “For so long the world was so divided and now everyone is coming together, having a good time and showing what makes them unique.”