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Thursday, September 21, 2023
The independent student publication of The University at Buffalo, since 1950

Got Culture?

The Intercultural Diversity Center (IDC) created a dual universe in the Student Union on Tuesday, Sept. 27. Tables were used to form a closed circle in the lobby, and students were able to take a quick break from their hectic studies to step into a fresh and stirring world.

Ask anyone that accepted the yellow paper passport that was being handed out in order to enter the Latino Bazaar.

"[The bazaar is] an annual event to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month," said Raymond ReDora, a graduate assistant at IDC. "One of the greatest parts is all of the student groups that come out here to join us. We invite student groups that are related to Hispanic Culture to have a table at the Bazaar or dance and we have other students coming out to support the event too. This is my second year and we definitely have more people than last year."

An array of student groups showed off their culture through tables and booths within the bazaar. Activities from crafting to eating were presented for students that were interested in learning about the culture.

At one booth students were able to create ‘Ojo de Dios', also known as ‘God's Eye,' out of yarn and sticks. The craft symbolizes the ancient ‘God's Eye' that was placed on an altar, so that gods could watch over the praying people. In modern Latino culture this piece of art is sold in markets to remind buyers that ‘God looks with love on people everywhere,' according to facts given out at the bazaar.

Nicole Fiton, a freshman biology and pre-med major, and Kayleigh Miller, a freshman biomed engineering major, were intrigued by the bazaar.

"Cultural experience [brings us here], we're not at all familiar with the culture," Fiton said. "This is something different that [we've] never experienced before."

Miller and Fiton were most fascinated by the crafts and the dancing that the bazaar had to offer. As they were walking by, the Latin American Student Association (LASA) was performing a dance that it practiced at its weekly Salsa Socials.

"[Dance] gives me a sense of comfort that I can always appreciate in my life," said Alberto Santiago, a sophomore mechanical engineering major, and member of LASA, while discussing the major role that dance plays in his culture.

One table was dedicated to making masks.

"In Mexico, masks are used as part of the tradition of the village festival, honoring saint's days and major Christian holidays," according to the Arizona museum exhibition.

Students allowed their creativity to shine through by choosing metallic colored masks and gluing extravagant feathers, beads, and sequins to portray their learning and excitement about the bazaar and Latino culture.

"I volunteer with cultural diversity center and I got to run the mask station," said Michael Flood, a senior health and human services major. "I like that a lot of people aren't familiar with this culture so I think it's nice they get to see things they've never seen."

Watching people from the sideline while running his station, Flood noticed that most of the UB community enjoyed listening to the music and watching the dancing at the bazaar.

According to the IDC website, the goal of the bazaar is to celebrate both commonalities and differences, and to provide cultural enrichment opportunities for students and the UB community.




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