September 21, 2020

Caribbean Students Association celebrates 30 years at SU

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sun_logoBy Georgie Silvarole From The Daily Orange

For Nyesher Serrant, feeling at home at Syracuse University became easier after she found the Caribbean Students Association.

“I feel like for me, coming from the Caribbean, the best part was meeting people who have so many interests I have,” said Serrant, a sophomore communication sciences and disorders major. “We have so much in common and that makes it comfortable.”

This week, the CSA is celebrating its 30th year as an organization on campus with Caribbean Destinations Week. The cultural traditions and practices that about 50 members bond over — food, music and dancing — are central to the activities the CSA will be hosting for the next six days.

“The events reflect the vibrancy of Caribbean culture,” said Chelsea Gill, president of the CSA and a junior information management and technology major.

Thursday’s event —Wine-N-Wukshop — will feature the Caribbean dance troupe Kalabash. Participants will be taught a variety of traditional Caribbean dances, and anyone is welcome to attend, whether they’re Caribbean or not, Gill said.

“You get to know all the dance moves,” Serrant said. “I’m pretty sure it’s going to be lots of fun.”

The CSA wanted to do more than just its annual Bob Marley-themed banquet this year, Gill said. Celebrating 30 years was something the 10-member executive board wanted to emphasize, and coordinating a variety of events to highlight ethnic food, music and entertainment was the reason behind the week of special events.

“We wanted to push CSA in a new direction,” Gill said. “A lot of campus (organizations) haven’t made it to 30 yet, and we wanted to embrace that longevity.”

In Caribbean Destinations Week, each day features “a different stop on the journey into Caribbean culture,” Gill said. Monday’s event is a seminar with the CSA general body where they’ll be discussing Rastafarianism and the myths behind it; on Friday, “Dancehall Queen,” a Caribbean dance movie will be shown; and on Saturday, the CSA’s 30th anniversary banquet —dubbed An Evening In Paradise —will be held at the Sheraton Syracuse University Hotel and Conference Center.

Tori Williams, a junior psychology major and the group’s historian, said the events are designed to attract a wide group of individuals who might be interested in learning about or taking part in Caribbean culture.

“A lot of our focus has been trying to get people on board who aren’t (of Caribbean descent),” Williams said. “I think a lot of it is music and food that will bring people together.”

One thing Williams, Gill and Serrant all agreed on was how group members were able to bond over cultural traditions and trends — even though they’re not all from the same place.

“It’s a home away from home. I’m really finding that family here,” Williams said. “It’s so interesting — we’re always bonding over food.”

Rice and peas, jerk chicken, plantains and macaroni pie are a few of the dishes that get passed around at one of the CSA’s occasional potlucks, Gill said. When they have time, the group will get together at someone’s home and cook, play games and dance.

The CSA holds meetings every other Friday evening and the meetings are open to anyone on campus. All events during the Caribbean Destinations Week are free and open as well. Saturday’s banquet will feature a live band and traditional Caribbean dishes. Student tickets are $8 and the event welcomes all students, Gill said.

“When I found CSA, I was automatically embraced and that was the best part,” Gill said. “Anybody that comes — we want them to feel as connected as we do.”

For more on this story go to: http://dailyorange.com/2015/02/caribbean-students-association-celebrates-30-years-at-su/
IMAGE: www.towson.edu

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