Various international cultures exposed at festival

The Student Government Association (SGA) brought Israeli culture, food, music and dance to the campus of Florida A&M University through iFest.

Inquisitive students filled the Grand Ballroom Thursday evening to check out the evening’s activities and even free food. As students made their way through the double doors, loud music of what could have easily been a popular hip-hop song was blasting through the loud speakers. However, in keeping with the culturally diverse theme, the music was Hebrew.

Not only on display was the Israeli culture but also that of Greece. Kostas Subs ‘N’ Salads provided students with everything from lamb and grilled chicken gyros to greek salad.

Israeli art and items, like the Hooka, were also on display. Students were able to have designs painted on them with Indian ink or they could enjoy the woman making her way around the room belly dancing, Leila entertaining the crowd.

Ramon Alexander, SGA president, said the purpose of the event iFest brought students of all cultural backgrounds out for the event.

Interim President Dr. Castell Bryant charged SGA to provide more culturally diverse and intellectually sound events for the university said Alexander and thus iFest was developed.

Amanda Wilkerson, the event organizer and director of student lobbying in SGA, said this is just one of many events that SGA has lined up for the school year.

“We’re in the midst of coming up with other events to spotlight cultures. We’re exposing students to something we’re [FAMU students] not familiar with.”

Wilkerson said events like iFest help balance students and give them exposure to other cultures other than those associated with the black race.

Tamesha White was pleased with the event. White said it gave students the opportunity to experience the difference between race and culture.

“A lot of people get race and culture mixed in together but they’re very different…for instance there is the black race but there are so many different cultures within the race, like Haitians and Jamaicans.”

Despite the fact that FAMU is an HBCU, Alexander explained it’s still important for students to be aware and embrace other cultures.

“Exposure is very key to FAMU students. We must be knowledgeable and adaptable to different dynamics around the world.”

Wilkerson agreed. “Events like iFest give students a balance and expose them to cultures other than those associated with the black race,” she said.

Donyelle Russ, a senior health care management student from Tallahassee also sees the importance of encouraging cultural awareness within the student body.

“This is an HBCU but there are other cultures on campus. We have Portuguese, Asians and Haitians, it’s important that we learn about other minorities.”

“iFest is a wonderful way for students to get exposure to different cultures.” said Alexander

“We’re taking SGA to the next level and trying to leave a good foundation for the next SGA administration.”

In addition to iFest, Alexander said SGA has invited nationally renowned scholar and author Cornell West to speak at the University in January.

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