Traditions of Cultural Diversity

(click on the plus sign (+) to see a description and contact information if provided)

+The Anne Frank Project

Campus: Buffalo State College
Contact Information: Andrew Kahn, Chair and Professor, Theater
Phone number: 716-878-6416                                    Email Address: kahnaj@buffalostate.edu
Description:  Each fall, Buffalo State College reinforces our mission "to empower a diverse population of students to succeed as citizens of a challenging world" with a celebration of the life and legacy of Anne Frank and her inspiring observation, "How wonderful is it that nobody need wait a single minute before starting to improve the world." The program began with a production of the stage play "The Diary of Anne Frank," on our campus in which the students juxtaposed two girls named Anne, one was the historic Anne Frank in Amsterdam, the other was a girl hiding from the genocide in Rwanda. The production so inspired the students that they determined to keep the work they had begun going and to make it part of institutional culture. Activities have extended to the adoption of a chestnut tree on campus, to be designated as Anne Frank Tree, in honor of the trees that Anne Frank saw out of her window while she was in hiding, and a seating area for study and contemplation adjacent to it. This has expanded to a campuswide event. An annual fall conference includes presentations on diversity and ways that people work to improve a diverse world.

+Annual Diversity Conference

Campus: The College at Brockport,  State University of New York
Contact Information: Dr. Kathryn F. Wilson, Vice President for Enrollment Management & Student Affairs
Phone number: 585-395-2137                                    Email Address: kwilson@brockport.edu
Description:  This day-long event features a nationally known keynote speaker, concurrent educational sessions, multicultural food tasting, panel discussion and an interactive multicultural showcase. The conference strives to be informative on issues of diversity while promoting open-mindedness, celebration of diversity, and acceptance of others on our college campuses and within our communities. It covers broad concept, sweeping across issues of social, economic, and political justice, and can relate to current issues in terms of their impact on schools, communities, the political landscape, and other services such as health care and social welfare, or issues of access and equity. The conference also serves as a forum in which to establish or enhance self-awareness in relation to community building endeavors.

+Annual Festival of Lights Program

Campus: Stony Brook University
Contact Information: Cheryl Chambers
Phone number: (631) 632-9968                                  Email Address: Cheryl.Chambers@stonybrook.edu
Description:  In December, members of our community come together to participate in the Annual Festival of Lights Program which is a rich Stony Brook University tradition that celebrates the diversity of religions.  Now in its ninth year, the Festival of Lights is an intercultural program that celebrates the diversity of religions during the holiday season.  The program highlights various faiths including Christmas/Advent/Three Kings Day (Christian), Hanukah (Jewish), Ramadan/Eid-ul and Fitr/Eid-Adha (Muslim), Diwali (Hindu), Kwanzaa (African American), and Rohatsu/Day of Enlightenment (Buddhist).  The Festival begins with a pre-event reception with holiday displays and foods, during which participants also can make a variety of holiday crafts as part of the Festival’s "Make It, Take It" activity.  This is followed by the main part of the Festival program which consists of presentations and cultural performances in song, dance, music, and poetry.  The event ends with a reception where participants can interact and relax.  Over the years hundreds have attended this annual Stony Brook program. It is coordinated by the Office of Multicultural Affairs and the Interfaith Center in conjunction with eight student organizations and several campus department.   Admission is free and open to the University community and invited guests. After the Festival, the Holidays display are relocated to our Student Activities Center lobby where they can be enjoyed throughout the holiday season.  When they are lit at night, it makes for a beautiful setting.

+Black History Spectacular

Campus: SUNY Purchase
Contact Information: Rebecca Roberts
Phone number: 914-251-6020                                    Email Address: rebecca.roberts@purchase.edu
Description:  Gospel Music. Literature recitations. The Black History Spectacular brings together the Conservatory of Music and Humanities to celebrate the rich contributions and influences of Black Americans to our society. With local high school students also invited to attend this special event, it truly represents the strong idea of community, intercultural communication and an appreciation for diversity.

+Black Womyns Weekend

Campus: Stony Brook University
Contact Information: Alexandra Duggan
Phone number: 631 632 - 7320                                   Email Address: alduggan@notes.cc.sunysb.edu
Description:  Black Womyn's Weekend is one of Stony Brook's senior organizations founded in 1978 by a few African American womyn during the post Civil Rights movement period. The purpose was then and still remains to recognize the hardships and celebrate the achievements of Black womyn of the past, the lives of those in the present, and inspire girls of today to be womyn of tomorrow. Aside from educational and interactive workshops throughout the year Black Womyn's Weekend takes place during the last weekend in April. It is one of Stony Brook's largest and most anticipated events attended by thousands of students, faculty members, and alumni. During this chosen weekend we host a Semi-Formal Banquet, an Original Play, a Fashion Show, and a Barbeque. Our mission is to promote unity through events both entertaining and educational with the endeavor of raising awareness and encouraging active participation within the student body and neighboring communities.

+Cultural Explosion Week

Campus: SUNY Purchase
Contact Information: Rebecca Roberts
Phone number: 914-251-6020                                    Email Address: rebecca.roberts@purchase.edu
Description:  Converge and Unite Nite highlight cultural explosion week- a collaborative between the cultural student organizations and the Office of Student Life & Community Partnerships. Converge celebrates the contributions on campus of men of color through artistic expressions while Unite Nite is a celebration of women's evolving place and role in society.

+Diversity Day

Campus: Stony Brook University
Contact Information: Cheryl Chambers
Phone number: (631) 632-9968                                  Email Address: Cheryl.Chambers@stonybrook.edu
Description:  Diversity Day brings individuals of different backgrounds together for an annual day of celebration and togetherness.  Every Spring semester during Stony Brook University's Strawberry Festival, members of the campus community share the many dimensions of our different heritages and lifestyles through music and dance performances, creative arts, lectures, and cultural offerings. The event is planned and organized by the Office of Multicultural Affairs in conjunction with 12-15 student representatives from campus clubs and organizations. Strawberry Festival Long Island is renowned for its succulent strawberries, so it's only appropriate that members of the Stony Brook community gather on the campus' Academic Mall every Spring to enjoy a mouthwatering menu of strawberry treats -- not to mention a fun-filled day of live music, dancing, and student cultural performances.  This event is traditionally held on the last Wednesday in April during Campus Life Time in conjunction with Diversity Day. Attendance: 4,000+

+Diversity Through Music and Menu

Campus: Fashion Institute of Technology
Contact Information: Taur D. Orange
Phone number: 212.217.4174                                     Email Address: taur_orange@fitnyc.edu
Description:  The Educational Opportunity Program (EOP) at FIT, mutlicultural in its student and staff composition, is committed to fostering educational, personal, and pre-professional development and institutional enrichment thorugh its several year-round diversity initiatives.   EOP maintains a tradition of introducing its pre-freshmen to diversity through a daily lunchtime "Music and Menu" format during its comprehensive four-week summer program. The summer program is designed to acclimate newly admitted program students to the academic rigors of their respective majors and to the unique demands of the institutional culture of pre-professional exposure. A critical aspect of acclimating students to FIT and to emerging global industry opportunities is to introduce them to the broadening notions of diversity.  EOP introduces its students to a wider community and an appreciation for differentness through the safe experience of music and food. Each program day affords the students and staff an opportunity to listen to different genres of music (e.g., folk, jazz, world music, Negro spirituals, Celtic, Middle Eastern, Balkan, etc.) and to enjoy menus that reflect those cultures and genres. The format is fun for staff to coordinate (i.e., selecting music themes such as "Classic Rock Wednesdays") and informative for students. Fun facts, quizzes, and contests are incorporated throughout the four-week program as a means of encouraging students to remember the cultural contributions of those who are different from themselves. During EOP's 2009 summer program the "Music and Menu" component included traditional music and foods from Thailand, India, Senegal, Japan, the Middle East, Ireland, and the Americas (north, central, and south). FIT, located in the heart of New york City, and attracting students from across the globe, is a bedrock of ethnic, economic, gender, and lifestyle diversity.

+The Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. African Heritage Month Luncheon

Campus: University at Albany
Contact Information: D. Ekow King
Phone number: 518-442-5565                                    Email Address: dking@uamail.albany.edu
Description:  The Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. African Heritage Month Luncheon is an annual event celebrating and recognizing the contributions and achievements of African heritage people in the United States and abroad.  This tradition was started in 1979 by Dr. Frank Pogue, Chair or the Dept. of Africana Studies and eventual Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs for SUNY Central Administration. Great emphasis is placed on leaders who have been or continue to be involved in the struggle for civil and human rights.  Lerone Bennett, Jr., Julian Bond, James Farmer, David Dinkins, Randall Robinson, Hon. Judge Leon Higginbotham, Mrytle Evers-Williams and the Hon. John Lewis are just a few of the speakers who have served as keynote speakers.  The luncheon has been held in February for 30 consecutive years and is free and open to all members of the University and surrounding communities.

+FIT GOSPEL CHOIR/ASIAN STUDENT NETWORK: ANNUAL LUNAR NEW YEAR/BLACK HISTORY MONTH EVENT

Campus: Fashion Institute of Technology
Contact Information: Deborah Payton-Jones
Phone number: 212-217-4140 office 631-383-1751 cell    Email Address: deborah-paytonjones@fitnyc.edu
Description:  The FIT Gospel Choir has held an annual Black History month program since 1996.  These programs have included co-sponsorship for such events as: Dance Theatre of Harlem, Boys Choir of Harlem, and Vy Higgenson presents: Gospel Is...!.  Last year we honored Michael Knight, Jon Haggins and Edward Wilkerson, as well as, co-sponsored with the Asian Student Network to present a Dragon Dance in honor of the Lunar New Year.  This year, we plan to continue in that same tradition and present a Kungfu demonstration, Dragon Dance and have Malcolm Jamal Warner showcase with his new genre of performance art, The Spoken Word.  We had over 350 people in attendance last year and expect a good crowd again this year.

+Gospel Fest

Campus: The College at Brockport,  State University of New York
Contact Information: Dr. Kathryn F. Wilson, Vice President for Enrollment Management & Student Affairs
Phone number: 585-395-2137                                    Email Address: kwilson@brockport.edu
Description:  An evening dedicated to celebrating Gospel music and its history. The annual showcase of The College at Brockport Gospel Choir features guest performers and hosts hundreds of participants from the Greater Brockport community. The event strengthens the relationship with the surrounding community.

+International Festival

Campus: The College at Brockport,  State University of New York
Contact Information: Dr. Kathryn F. Wilson, Vice President for Enrollment Management & Student Affairs
Phone number: 585-395-2137                                    Email Address: kwilson@brockport.edu
Description:  Celebration and recognition of our campus diversity, particularly as it relates to the presence and contributions of international students, their food and culture.  The event features a menu inspired by our student’s favorite home country foods, entertainment, and a silent auction.

+International Students Week

Campus: Fashion Institute of Technology
Contact Information: Teri Rosenberg
Phone number: 212 217 4134                                      Email Address: teri_rosenberg@fitnyc.edu
Description:  Every year, FIT recognizes its large International student population through a week of events.  It is a collaboration across departments, specifically the International Students Office and the Department of Liberal Arts.  We hold events designed to help international students connect with each other, learn about helpful information to ease their transition such as the process of Visas, as well as highlight study abroad opportunities for our students from the US.  This year, we are working with our student television station, WFIT, to interview international students about their journey to America and what brought them to FIT to help promote understanding across campus.

+Journey Around the World:  Annual Multicultural Show & Food Tasting

Campus: Stony Brook University
Contact Information: Cheryl Chambers
Phone number: (631) 632-9968                                  Email Address: Cheryl.Chambers@stonybrook.edu
Description:  The Journey Around the World Multicultural Show & Food Tasting is a Stony Brook tradition that celebrates the rich ethnic and cultural diversity of our campus community.  It is in its fifth year. The Office of Multicultural Affairs collaborates with 20 - 25 different cultural student organizations to plan and present this event, that features Collaborate, a multi-faceted cultural show in song, dance, music, the spoken word, and speech rpesentations, followed by a multi-ethnic food tasting consisting of Chinese, Japanese, Caribbean, Southern, Spanish, Greek, and French cuisine.    Each segment of the Multicultural Show is preceeded by a brief speech presentation, where students explain the cultural and hsitorical significance of the performance that the audience will see. This provides an educational aspect to the event, and an opprotunity for the audience to learn something new about the each of the cultures presented and develop a deeper understanding and appreciation for their uniqueness.  In addition, the student groups that are invovled in presenting this traditon work in unity to educate, enrich, and celebrate Stony Brook's diverse campus community.    Admission is free and open to the University community and invited guests.  Attendance: 300-350.

+Kente Graduation Ceremony

Campus: SUNY Cortland
Contact Information: Noelle Chaddock Paley
Phone number: 607-753-2336                                    Email Address: noelle.paley@cortland.edu
Description:  The Kente Graduation Ceremony recognizes and celebrates the accomplishments of our under-represented students upon their graduation from college. Graduates are presented with the Kente stole which is worn at commencement as it signifies and symbolizes higher education's connection to the cultures, intellectual traditions and academic achievements of the Africana World.

+Ms. FIT Drag Pageant

Campus: Fashion Institute of Technology
Contact Information: Philip Milio
Phone number: 212-217-4133                                    Email Address: student_success@fitnyc.edu
Description:  The Ms. FIT Pageant is now in the planning stages for the fourth annual event that celebrates diversity and fashion through a very popular drag show.   All of the contestants are full time male students who perform in drag and compete for the crown. This event became a tradition by the second year when the auditorium was filled with capacity and the buzz for the following year began the day after the pageant.  This tradition celebrates diversity and fashion in a light-hearted way.  Ms. FIT is a student-led program that brings together various clubs including the GLBT (Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Transgendered organization), student government and residence hall council. In addition to an opening group performance, contestants compete in evening wear, talent and question/answer competitions.  A professional comedian hosts the event while judges include professors from Fashion Design, the FIT Dance Team coach, the reigning Ms. FIT, etc. This is one of the most highly anticipated events of the year at FIT.

+New International Students Welcome Dinner and Program

Campus: Stony Brook University
Contact Information: Ronnie Paschkes
Phone number: 631 632 - 7320                                   Email Address: rpaschkes@notes.cc.sunysb.edu
Description:  The program, held during the International Students Orientation Week, welcomes approximately 650 new international students.  Speakers include  the University President, the VP for Student Affairs, and various Deans,  a "Stony Brook Yearbook" video is shown, the Host Family Program is introduced, and entertainment by the University Band is enjoyed by all.  This is followed by a buffet dinner wherein the students can relax and enjoy the evening in a relaxed setting.

+Rosa Parks Competition

Campus: Fredonia
Contact Information: Cheryl Drout
Phone number:                                                                Email Address: Cheryl.Drout@fredonia.edu
Description:  The Rosa Parks competition was established in 1989 by Vivian Garcia and was designed to give all the students of SUNY Fredonia an opportunity to voice their opinion on the subject of injustice, cultural pluralism, or multiculturalism in any way they wish.  There is a wide variety of media that students can use in the written genre such as both fiction and non-fiction short stories, essays and poetry.  Other submissions may include multimedia presentations, painting, photography, musical composition, and dance.   The winners are generally students whose entries are provocative and original, take full advantage of the medium selected, and have a strong emotional or intellectual impact.    Three students are awarded equal scholarships.  Winners will present their work to the Fredonia campus and community at the annual Rosa Parks Presentation and Award Ceremony.

+Tolerance Week

Campus: Fashion Institute of Technology
Contact Information: Teri Rosenberg
Phone number: 212 217 4134                                      Email Address: teri_rosenberg@fitnyc.edu
Description:  FIT is a very diverse campus and we take this week as an opportunity to celebrate that as well as promote understanding and dialogue across different groups on campus.  In the past we have done community forums for students to share their thoughts, a taste testing where students can share food from their respective cultures, film viewings and discussions, speakers and celebrations of dance and music.

+Unity Celebration

Campus: SUNY Cortland
Contact Information: Noelle Chaddock Paley
Phone number: 607-753-2336                                    Email Address: noelle.paley@cortland.edu
Description:  The Unity Celebration has been held for the past 11 years at SUNY Cortland either at the beginning or end of Black History Month in February. The entire campus is invited to come together to celebrate Black History Month, create a forum of togetherness, and bring together multicultural organizations, SGA, friends, and allies of the diversity movement in the spirit of unity at SUNY Cortland.

+Unity Dinner

Campus: University at Albany
Contact Information: Jennifer Anderson
Phone number: (518) 442-5566                                  Email Address: janderson@uamail.albany.edu
Description:  This annual event is co-sponsored by our Interfaith Council to observe Christmas, Hannakuh, Ramadan, Kwanzaa, and Diwali.  The event includes interactive activities and informational stations hosted by our faith and cultural groups describing the history and rituals of each holiday.  The evening includes a buffet dinner featuring food traditional to each group.  An event created at the request of our students and with the support of the University, the Unity Dinner is collaborative campus effort now in its 9th year.  The Unity Dinner had had the honor of being recognized by Senator Neil Breslin with a Proclamation each year for promoting diversity, acceptance and the ideals of peace and harmony on campus.

+University at Albany Podium Day

Campus: National Pan-Hellenic Council
Contact Information: Craig Brewer
Phone number: 518-442-5566                                    Email Address: cbrewer@uamail.albany.edu
Description:  The National Pan Hellenic Council (NPHC) is the international governing body over the nine, most well known, historically African American fraternities and sororities. Each spring, the University at Albany NPHC chapter, hosts its annual Podium Day. Podium Day is the culmination of a week of programming that highlights the past and present achievements of its member organizations. Podium Day allows each member organization of NPHC to perform step routines and celebrate the rich tradition of stepping. Stepping is a form of percussive dance where the participant uses his/her entire body as an instrument. Participants produce complex rhythms and sounds through a mixture of footsteps, hand claps, spoken word, and song. Each year the entire campus looks forward to this exciting event.