By CARMEN BORCA-CARRILLO
Last week, Fordham Advocates Cultural Enrichment (FACE) hosted a week of interactive meetings and informational sessions celebrating cultural diversity on Fordham’s Lincoln Center campus. Two delectable events, “Taste the World” and “Desserts and Dialogue,” utilized food as a method to ease students into dialogue about cultural differences and the immigrant experience.
“Taste the World,” hosted on March 7, allowed event-goers to collect candy from around the globe, from the British chocolate “Turkish Delight” to “White Rabbit,” a Japanese rice candy. Elisabeth O’Neill, Fordham College Lincoln Center (FCLC) ’19 and member of the FACE committee, said the goal of the event was to “get a taste of different countries around the world” and subsequently “help the community get introduced to cultures.”
Wednesday March 14 saw the three-year anniversary of “Desserts and Dialogue,” an open conversation about immigrant identities eased by the presence of cakes and pastries. “In this political climate, the immigrant experience is vital to discuss,” said Nopell Wong, FCLC ’18, who has headed the event since her sophomore year.
Wong emphasized the importance of a dialogue pertaining to topics important to immigrants’ personal narratives in the United States, such as language, assimilation and education, rather than strictly immigration policy. “I’m sick of having that discussion all the time,” she said. “What about the immigration experience, or what it means to be an immigrant?”
FACE is a yearly committee of undergraduate and graduate students from the Office of Multicultural Affairs and the Office for Student Involvement who work throughout the spring semester to create a week of culturally diverse programming. Under the FACE banner, individual events are often co-sponsored by campus clubs such as the Hellenistic Society who ran Greek Culture night, and Active Minds who organized “Creating a Culture of Wellness.”
Organizers supply events like the FACE series with food in order to create a supportive and welcoming atmosphere that stimulates discussion of difficult topics. “We know that talking about [these] experiences is not an easy thing,”Jialin Zhou, FCLC ’19 and FACE committee member, said. “We want to create a warm and relaxing atmosphere for people to feel more comfortable.”
The FACE committee aims to create programs that will bring students together and encourage long-term cultural engagement. “FACE is one week of extensive programming,” Leigh Weber, assistant director to Multicultural Affairs said. “But we hope that the ideas from FACE can help students and everyone here at Fordham take these ideas and build programs [that] embrace cultural differences on a continuing basis.”
While Lincoln Center’s FACE programming has come to a close, the Diversity and Inclusion Conference, a joint effort between the Office of Career Services and Office of Multicultural Affairs, will occur at Rose Hill on Wednesday, April 4.