Laughter and conversation filled Portland State’s Multicultural Center as students and faculty members mingled, playing games like Jenga and Apples to Apples.
Students attended the Sweet Summer Social, a gathering put on by the university’s cultural centers in the Smith Memorial Student Union’s Multicultural Center on Thursday, Aug. 28, 2014 from 2 p.m. until 3 p.m.
Melissa Bennet, program coordinator of the Native American Student & Community Center, said the social is meant to encourage student interaction.
“We just wanted a chance for everybody to come together and celebrate summer,” Bennet said. “We have games set up, so we’ve got board games [for people to play]. It’s just a chance for people to be able to come together around a game and have fun and get to know each other.”
Emanuel Magana is the coordinator of a community on campus for Latin American students called La Casa Latina. He said events like the social help to bring more people to multicultural spaces on campus.
“The space is designed for anybody to be able to come into it,” Magana said. “If we can get people to come in here and feel like it’s home and feel like it’s a space that they can call their own, then it makes it easier to be able to do these kinds of educational programs…Having events like this really gives us the opportunity to develop that home feeling for a lot of students.”
The centers play an important role in fostering friendships, according to Stacie Taniguchi, program coordinator of the Multicultural Center.
“We encourage folks to stop by our centers, say hi, come and talk to us if they have questions. Anyone can come into any of our centers regardless of their identities and really just check it out because we see friendships grow right in front of us and it’s really awesome,” Taniguchi said.
At the Sweet Summer Social, she made an effort to promote future events that the cultural centers around campus will be hosting.
“We’re showing some of our upcoming programming on our projector slide so [we’re letting] folks remember these dates,” Taniguchi said. “We’re having Latino Heritage Month and Native Heritage Month and other programs so they have them on their radar.”
Taniguchi encouraged students to attend a lecture by Julio Salgado at PSU in early October.
“One big event that I’m looking forward to is [that] we’re bringing queer activist Julio Salgado to campus for Latino Heritage Month and in a partnership with the Queer Resource Center for national coming out day…That will be Oct. 8, so if that can get on people’s radars, we’re going to do a really cool poster-making workshop because he’s known for his artwork and then he’s going to do a lecture later on.”
Late summer is not an easy time to draw a crowd at PSU, so the coordinators were pleased to see such a large number of people drawn to the Sweet Summer Social.
“I’m really pleased with the turnout,” Taniguchi said. “I thought we weren’t going to have that many people, but I’m really excited and hopefully this is more to come with our regular events in the fall.”
To see a complete list of the cultural centers’ upcoming events view their calendar here: http://www.pdx.edu/dmss/cultural-centers-events