Ethnic organizations reach out at Quad Day

This year’s Quad Day hosted over 500 organizations that reflected the varied interests and backgrounds of students. Out of those 500, 41 are considered cultural or ethnic organizations, according to the Office of Student Organizations. The groups reflect the University’s diverse student body and try to help ethnic organizations reach students that are not necessarily represented.

Quad Day not only helped organizations recruit, but it also allowed ethnic or cultural associations to reach students that normally would not seek them out. The popular belief that cultural or ethnic clubs only cater to the students they represent is one that many clubs are trying to change.

“Sharing cultures makes this campus what it is. The blend of people makes Illinois stand out,” said Erick Eckstrom, sophomore in FAA.

Hapsatou Wane, graduate student and general secretary of the African Student Organization, said that without Quad Day, her organization would not be as visible or popular as it is now.

“I think diversity is well represented on this campus. Quad Day shows how international the campus is,” she said.

Wane also added that the group’s goal is to spread knowledge about Africa to both Africans and non-Africans alike in an attempt to bring a global perspective to campus.

“We are not a focus cultural organization, we are Pan-Asian,” said Swetha Ramanathan, senior in LAS and president of the Asian American Association. “So we want all types of Asians as well as non-Asians. We want to promote our culture to various people.”

The Asian American Association is unique because the group focuses on keeping its Asian roots while integrating itself into American society. The group’s goal for the year is to recruit more students who do not associate with Asian American culture.

Ramanathan said her organization already has several members who are not entirely of Asian decent, but who joined in order to further their understanding of Asian American culture.

“We hope to show people a side of what makes us Asian American as opposed to Asian. We want to teach others about our culture but we also want to learn from people of other cultures,” Ramanathan said.

Both the African Student Organization and the Asian American Association have many social events lined up in order to foster friendships amongst all types of ethnicities including a dinner and discussion and a barbecue, respectively.

“The main thing is to learn about other cultures and have a good time while doing it,” Ramanathan said.