It's Multicultural Week at AUC
It’s Multicultural Week at AUC and the campus is alive with vibrant sights, sounds, and tastes of cultures from around the world. The cafeteria patio, typically reserved for study and dining tables, is now a wave of students moving synchronously to a Bhangra dance class. Tomorrow, African beats and Caribbean dance moves will replace Punjabi folk music and on Friday, the patio will host food from different regions around the world. In total, five events will bring different cultures and traditions to the AUC community in St. Maarten.
Multicultural Week began last year as a way for students to celebrate the diversity and cultures represented among AUC’s student body. The Student Volunteer Committee (SVC) leads the initiative and works collaboratively with many individuals and organizations to design a schedule of events. AUC has nine cultural and religious clubs on campus and this semester the Asian Student Medical Association (ASMA), Black Medical Student Association (BMSA), and South Asian Medical Student Association (SAMSA) all played a role in hosting events.
“We believe it’s important to highlight and celebrate the multiculturalism of our student body,” said SVC co-president Lauren Polan-Couillard. “By working with all of the student clubs and organizations, we are able teach students about an aspect of another culture that they may not have known.”
Earlier this week, ASMA hosted a Tinikling dance class, which is a national Filipino folk dance, and Learie Hall led a Zumba class with a Latin twist. There will be four different dance sessions throughout the week leading up to the Multicultural Week celebration dinner on Friday evening. There, the SVC will serve up a variety of dishes from popular restaurants around the island (entry is $5 prior to Friday and $7 at the door). Proceeds from that event will go toward the SXM Breakfast Club, a fundraising effort that supports preparation and service of a daily breakfast to children at three island schools. Prior to dinner, there will be prayers offered by the Christian Medial and Dental students Association (CMDA), Jewish American Medical Students Association (JAMSA), and Muslim Students Association (MSA).
For Travis Lambert who co-leads SVC with Lauren Polan-Couillard, Multicultural Week is more than a weeklong celebration; it’s an avenue to understand diverse groups of people who he will likely encounter as a physician.
“One of the most beautiful aspects of AUC is that we are given the opportunity to learn with and from those that have different outlooks on life than we do,” he said. “This fact has the potential to help us grow into more sympathetic and empathetic future physicians and deserves celebration.”