Somali students celebrate culture

The Somali Student Association hopes to build a community on campus.

Elizabeth Giorgi

Traveling abroad isn’t always necessary to gain cultural experience.

The Somali Student Association is trying to help students realize there are many cultures to celebrate on campus.

Northrop Plaza was filled with sunshine and people Friday to celebrate Somali Awareness Day.

The Somali Student Association, which hosted the event, provided food, showed cultural art, traditional clothing and artifacts, and performed cultural dances.

The Somali Student Association President Mohamud Ahmed said the day is important for University students because awareness is important for people to gain understanding about their culture.

There are many misconceptions people believe and by having events people can learn something new, he said.

One of the things people commonly don’t understand is why women cover their bodies, Ahmed said.

“It is a command by Allah for Islamic beauty,” he said.

Somali Student Association secretary and global studies senior Kadra Ibrahim said it is important for the association to show its presence on campus.

There are many different cultures on this campus and it is crucial that the Somali Student Association is able to celebrate its culture in the midst of such a vast array of cultures, she said.

“Students don’t have to go far,” she said. “You don’t necessarily have to go on a study-abroad trip to find another culture.”

One of the largest Somali population in the nation resides in the Twin cities and 15 percent of the Minneapolis population is made up of Somalis, said sociology junior Shukri Warsame.

One of the largest Somali communities in Minneapolis is on our own campus, she said.

“The vision is to raise awareness and show that we have our place at the ‘U,’ ” she said.

PSEO sophomore Shamin Ali said she stopped at the booths because she was interested in some of the displays and the good food.

Bringing people together allows for discussion about important cultural issues, she said.

“Food always brings people together, and it is great to bring people together for something like this,” she said.

Somali Student Association vice president and family social sciences junior Hibaq Warsame said bringing people into the event is one of the hardest but most important parts.

Once people show an interest they ask questions and that is an opportunity to break down misconceptions, she said.

“We are trying to build a bridge and make community ties in hopes that it will make (students) aware,” she said.