UB's Turkish SA is destined for 'good fortune'
New Turkish Student Association club reads fortunes for students
After Teagan Eschborn finished her coffee, Suzan Akpinar, president of the Turkish Student Association, flipped the coffee cup from under the plate to read her fortune, an important cultural practice in Turkey. Eschborn, a freshman biology student, did not expect the news to bring her to tears.
“Someone you’re close with is getting pregnant,” Akpinar said to Eschborn as she read the coffee grounds. “This baby brings pure joy. It makes you happy. I see a huge smile on your face.”
On Wednesday, students were invited into the Student Union Theater for some coffee, fortune telling and to learn about Turkish culture. About 30 people attended the event. This was the first event for the Turkish SA, which became a permanent club this semester. Students drank the cup of coffee, leaving the ground coffee beans at the bottom. Then, flipping the cup over onto the plate, they waited until the grounds chilled. Akpinar, a sophomore political science major, read their fortune from the leftover coffee grounds that ran down the sides of the cup.
The four members on the e-board of the club introduced students into the Student Union Theater by giving them kolonya, a floral hand sanitizer with a hint of lemon in order to awaken their minds. They were also given a Turkish word from a bowl with the English translation to help begin their experience of learning about the Turkish culture.
In order for a fortune to be given, students had to purchase the small cup of coffee for $3. This was added to the club’s fund for future events.
In Alexandra Carr’s coffee grounds, Akpinar saw a woman that Carr does not always see eye to eye with, but once they part after a debate, they find total bliss.
“I thought about my mother,” said Carr, a senior psychology major. “We live together and I love her, she loves me, but we butt heads.”
Carr felt as though her reading was accurate, leading her to have a rewarding, unexpected experience, she said.
“It was so cool,” Carr said. “I love that I can be accepted here, even if I’m not Turkish. I’m a little bit more wiser and more cultured. I feel like I’ve grown just by being here for 20 minutes.”
Coffee is a significant part of Turkish culture. Akpinar said Turkish people drink coffee so much it is “almost like water” to them. Coffee is served to guests as a way to welcome them into the host’s home.
The Turkish SA’s e-board members have used their cultural past to inspire the club’s events.
Akpinar learned to read fortunes from her mother and was pleased with the responses from the event, especially since it allowed other students to expand their cultural experience.
Akpinar moved from Turkey to the United States when she was 10 years old. When she moved to the United States, she wanted to influence other people’s perspectives on different cultures. She speaks English and Turkish and said the mixture of cultures is better than one culture alone.
Akanksha Kataria, the vice president of Turkish SA and a sophomore psychology major, is from India.
The club’s diversity helps members learn different religions, cultural practices and even languages.
“It always connects people,” Akpinar said. “They teach me so much every day.”
Turkish SA plans to join with UB for Israel and gather other cultural clubs to sing in a Eurovision contest.
The club’s next event will be held on Feb. 24 from 2:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. in the Student Union Theater where they will live stream a soccer game between Manchester City and Barcelona, another favorite pastime in Turkey. There will be free snacks and drinks provided.
The club is giving students the opportunity to explore the Turkish culture first-hand.
Eschborn was happy to have taken advantage of the fortune telling event and wants the Turkish SA to prosper.
“I hope they get their club going,” Eschborn said. “It looks like a good way for people from this great country to get together and people who aren’t from Turkey or want to learn about it, like myself, can.”
Marissa Fielding is a features staff writer and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org