A look into a few of UB's international clubs
There are over 20 international Student Association clubs on campus that strive to celebrate the diversity of UB's student body. Here is a brief examination of three of them.
Sarah Ser Min Ng, a senior psychology and sociology major, spent 21 hours on a flight from Singapore to Buffalo last fall. She skipped high school and came straight to UB to pursue her passion for psychology. She's currently president of Singapore SA, an international club that aims to bring Singapore culture to the UB campus and help all Singaporeans settle into Buffalo.
To achieve that, the club holds events that introduce international students from Singapore to Buffalo. This year, the club brought its members to Elmwood, City Hall and a few museums to let them get a glimpse of Buffalo. The club also hosts a Makansutra event, in which they cook Singapore dishes to give the international students a taste of their lives back home and UB a taste of Singapore.
"We are hosting an International Cosmic Bowling Night with Make a Wish Foundation," Ng said. "It is a bowling competition in cosmic light, and all proceeds will be donated to Make a Wish Foundation. It was a huge success last year and we will be doing it again this fall as a way to give back to the community that welcomes us."
Singapore SA collaborates with other international clubs for events sometimes; through this, members are able to learn about cultures of other countries. Ng finds it comforting to see how many similarities she shares with cultures in other Asian countries.
"That is the reason I like UB," Ng said. "UB being diverse gives a sense of familiarity when meeting other Asian students, yet at the same time I am able to make friends from around the world."
Taz Hossain, a sophomore political science major, came across a poster that stuck with her and changed her view of the world. It said, "Diversity is the one true thing we have in common."
Hossain is the president of the Bangladeshi SA. The club's mission is to promote the culture of Bangladesh amongst the student body at UB - to Bangladeshis and non-Bangladeshis alike, she said. She places high value on the importance of diversity on a college campus.
"Throughout history, American has been referred to as a 'melting pot,'" Hossain said. "The metaphor emerged from the idea that customs and traditions of people of different races and ethnicities would blend and lose their own distinctions after close contact over time, just like ingredients mix in a pot - UB is just a smaller scale of that."
This multicultural education is an important component of valuing diversity, Hossain said.
"[Diversity] helps us compete in an increasingly globalized world," she said. "It emphasizes the importance of people sharing their stories and learning from the stories of others."
Michelle Abekeh, a senior exercise science major, said African SA's mission is to unify, enrich and educate UB's student population about the African culture and community.
They take pride in their culture and enhance their sense of unity by hosting a variety of events and wearing unique clothing, which represents their African culture.
Each year, the club hosts its Annual Hair and Fashion Show called "The Awakening: From Culture to Couture." The purpose of the event is to showcase "exquisite designs of local African and non-African designers," Abekeh said.
The club wants to show that Africa is filled with various rich cultures, which is expressed through the various colors in the outfits. They also hope to expose up-and-coming young designers, according to Abekeh.
The club meets every Thursday at 5 p.m. in Student Union room 145B. They discuss current events in various countries in Africa, how Africans born and/or raised in America go through various experiences and how their activities relate to African people and culture.