Cultural centers meet for Halloween bash

by Raiza Beltran

Revolving lights and a hard bass resonated from each room as members of the Coffman Union cultural centers held their first intercultural event Friday night.
The sounds of salsa, rap and house music greeted students who treaded into the student union dressed in costumes and looking for a good time. Men posed as women, women slinked around in mini-skirts and disco dancers pranced around in the hallway.
“It’s nice to bring the cultural centers together,” said Mark Holder, president of the Africana Student Cultural Center and a College of Liberal Arts senior. “It allows us to learn how to work together.”
The Asian American Student Cultural Center traditionally holds the Halloween event and encouraged the Africana center and La Raza Student Cultural Center to share in the festivities.
“We wanted our members to meet and make other people welcome at the centers,” said Mee Ng, president of the Asian American center and Carlson School of Management junior.
But Ng added that she was concerned about the cultural centers’ loss of visibility becasue of the union’s Nov. 16 closing. The $50 million two-year union renovation includes massive internal restructuring, the addition of a two-story fireplace and installation of large windows that will improve views of the Mississippi River.
The cultural centers will move to a sub-street level space below McDonalds, Dairy Queen and other shops along Washington Avenue.
“(The cultural centers) might lose cohesion; we are now trying to develop it,” Ng said.
More than one 100 students navigated from room to room during the Halloween party. Iyabo Lawal, vice president of the Africana center and mechanical engineering senior, said the plan to bring the groups together “is working.”
“It is bringing us closer. As people of color, we tend to focus on ourselves … by doing this, we realize we have a lot in common,” Lawal said.
Rodrigo Sanchez, a board member of La Raza Student Cultural Center and a Chicano studies sophomore, agreed.
“(The event) unifies the association with each other,” he said. “Later on, we can work on bigger problems and rely on each other.”
Moving worries were put on hold Friday night, Sanchez said. Students had a chance to kick back and bask in the spirited night.

Raiza Beltran covers student life and student government and welcomes comments at [email protected]