By: Samuel Chacko, Luis Castilla, Acsah Lemma, Linsey Towles and Anthony Orrico
Long Beach State’s cultural week of welcome opened with the Latinx welcome on Monday and ended with LGBTQ+ welcome on Friday.
Latinx Cultural Welcome
Cal State Long Beach’s largest student population was represented Monday during the annual Latinx Cultural Welcome, featuring Latinx organizations across campus.
Caminantes for Education is a “student organization that supports LatinX students who are interested in the education field by helping them in their academic journey,” according to their Instagram bio.
The club was created as a result of the defunding of the HSI Caminos Project.
“At first we were a fully-funded program but we lost that,” Co-chair Alexis Monsivais said. “We’re kind of in a weird in-between spot, we just need support and we need people to know about us.”
The event drew many of students with the promise of free pupusas and aguas frescas to those who visited every booth.
The day came to a climax with impassioned performances by campus clubs Mariachi Los Tiburones de CSULB and Grupo Folklorico Mexica.
Black Cultural Welcome
The Black Cultural Welcome kicked off on the evening of Sept. 12 with a large turnout of students, clubs and resource centers.
Assistant Director of the Black Resource Center, Paul Carter, said that his goal for the event was to build a community.
“These events are so important, to make sure that students are valued and to make sure students know there’s a space for them,” Carter said. “There’s a community here that is here to support them.”
The event featured clubs and organizations providing resources for Black students.
Yvette Newborn, a member of the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, spent the event talking to different organizations.
“It’s a great way to meet people, especially if you’re new on campus, you have a place to go so it’s all about creating that sense of belonging and knowing that there’s someone to reach out to,” Newborn said.
Asian/Asian American Welcome
Wednesday’s cultural welcome event shined a light on Asian/Asian American culture outside the University Student Union, featuring clubs, crafts and traditional Asian cuisine.
Students were able to connect with clubs and organizations catered towards their cultural identities and meet with fellow students who identify as Asian or Asian American.
“We think it’s important to provide students with a space where they can meet others who they can racially or ethnically identify with,” Shannyn Sayula, the AAPI resource center assistant director, said. “It’s also a good chance to meet faculty and staff who identify the same way.”
Various cultural practices were on display during the event, as students were able to make their own pocket Zen gardens, place a message on the Chinese “wishing tree” and enjoy Vietnamese banh mi sandwiches.
“I want another event like this every semester,” freshman Katrina Crinh said.
The event rounded off with a performance from the taiko drumming team, a traditional Japanese style of drums.
American Indian and Pacific Islander Welcome
The American Indian and Pacific Islander Cultural Welcome event took place on Thursday at the lawn in front of the USU.
The event was organized by the Office of Multicultural Affairs in coordination with the American Indian Student Council and the CSULB Pacific Islander Association.
“Since we’re the American Indian Student Council, we just provide a nice safe space for American Indian and Alaska Native students and other students that identify as indigenous,” Eleanor Nelson, President of the American Indian Student Council said.
The event concluded with a round dance set to Native American songs led by Craig Stone, the director of the American Indian Studies at CSULB.
“The song reminds them that the community is there for them, and the community is standing behind them, and supporting them. And so that’s a song of encouragement for them to complete their education,” Stone said.
Queer and Trans Welcome
Friday’s welcome event brought LGBTQ+ members and allies to the Games area of the University Student Union to socialize, meet new friends and learn about different resources for community members.
Hilary Chavira, a student employee at Student Orientation Advising and Registration, SOAR, said that events such as these are essential to help students feel welcome.
“We want everyone that comes to Cal State Long Beach to feel welcome and glad to be here, glad that they chose this school,” Chavira said.
CSULB’s newest librarian, Sarah Corona, just started last week and wanted to make sure she came to as many welcome week events as she could. “I think it’s really important to have these kinds of spaces for people that may not feel welcome in a traditional, academic space,” Corona said.