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Celebrating Culture

Annual CASA Weekend Capped off with Dinner, Performances, and Fashion Show

Katherine Hamilton, Scarlet Staff

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Dressed in formal attire, students began trickling into Tilton Hall around 7 p.m. on Sunday night, filling tables to join the Caribbean and African Students Association (CASA) for their annual cultural dinner. African and Caribbean music played loudly throughout the hall as students found their seats or posed for photographs with their friends. Each table was provided with chips and salsa from Lucas McCormick’s (’19) Salsa de la Frontera, and with an informational place card about a represented Caribbean or African country.

Sunday’s dinner closed CASA Weekend 2017, a weekend dedicated to unifying CASA students of various backgrounds, and spreading awareness of the club to the rest of campus. This year’s weekend focused on the topic of “culture shock,” and included a dialogue on Friday, April 7. In his brief opening speech, the club’s president, Chima Egbuzie (’19), commented on the significance of this theme.

“[It’s] a way to present the various issues and experiences that come with being immersed in American culture,” said Egbuzie. “This theme is an ode to the multitude of realities that arise when we take a step back and look at what culture is, where it comes from, and what it can do to us.”

After his speech, the audience was treated to a high-energy dance number performed by “In The Zone,” an all-girls dance team based out of the Boys and Girls Club.

Around 8 p.m., dinner was served, consisting of foods from various African and Caribbean cultures, including rice, chicken, plantains, and fried dough.

Egbuzie explained that the food served could exemplify how the varying cultures unite together in CASA. He said fried plantains are eaten in several of the nations represented in CASA, but they are seasoned and prepared differently in each culture. “This is an important event just because it’s our opportunity…to highlight our culture together, as well as the different places we come from.”

Students also performed poetry readings and music, touching on the ups and downs of adapting to American culture while still holding onto personal identities, ethnicities, and traditions. Some CASA members also participated in a short film and, later, a skit, demonstrating the amount of time and energy involved with the program.

“It’s a lot of stress,” Egbuzie chuckled when asked about planning the dinner, “but at the same time, it’s really exciting when you’ve been able to hold an event where everyone is there and everyone is so happy.”

Currently, the e-board is larger than it has been in the history of the club, adding new levels of both stress and excitement to meetings, said Egbuzie. He explained that his job this year has been more of a “democratic conversation,” in which he leads the meetings and the other e-board members take the action.

“Sometimes it’s really hard with all those voices,” he said, “but the best part is we all came together and we all had our input about the event.”

The students’ hard work was indeed apparent during the final event of the night: a fashion show. Members of CASA made Tilton Hall their personal runway as they showed off colorful attire from nearly 15 African and Caribbean countries. Attendees were then invited to stay after the event for dancing and refreshments, as the club celebrated the closing of an exciting and important weekend.

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The student news site of Clark University
Celebrating Culture