Amongst the variety of cultures present in the Student Union clubrooms, the Queens College (QC) Caribbean Student Association (CSA) club is an exciting experience that welcomes all who are interested.
“I was a transfer student who joined CSA and now I’m an executive board member, which involves oversight of club ongoings. I didn’t expect this but joining this club has been an experience I couldn’t gain elsewhere. The members are like my second family,” noted Vashinie Peter, secretary. “Immediately, CSA had this vibe and good energy,” she added.
Witnessing the club from the outside might feel intimidating. However, members of the club always ensure a welcoming environment to all students, regardless of their background. CSA has a mosaic of different cultures represented in its following and members of the club are always excited to learn about new cultures and people.
Club president, Andre Benjamin, names his number one mission as developing, “an all-inclusive club representing all aspects Caribbean, regardless of someone’s Caribbean ethnicity or descent.” His focus also incorporates increasing the overall Caribbean presence on Queens College campus.
CSA hosted a celebration of Black Caribbean culture during Black History Month. It was a massive showcase of Caribbean art, music, dress, food and art. Professional guest speakers were also in attendance, stimulating discussions and educating audiences on the vibrant culture of Afro-Caribbeans. Decorated QC professors contributed to talks about the Caribbean traditions and forms of creativity and how NYC is so greatly influenced by this vibrant composition of culture.
CSA’s treasurer, Brittania Gordon, described the club as, “a home away from home.” Students are encouraged to join the Caribbean community and be exposed to things familiar to them. The community and support among members of the club are clear and range from dealing with academic issues to personal ones.
“Next week is really exciting because it’s our first Caribbean Week. We have multiple exciting events that week that really introduce many popular aspects of Caribbean culture. We hope that many people will participate in the events and have fun,” Benjamin said.
The club will debut its “Caribbean Week” in April, featuring various events throughout the week of April 15-18. The week begins with “Learn N Whine,” from 6 PM to 8 PM in the Dining Hall’s Patio Room. The event is choreographed and taught by CSA’s Dance Team and features dance moves practiced from most Caribbean countries.
The following day involves “Creative Cooking,” with one of Haiti’s most renowned chefs, Chef Natacha Gomez, in the Dining Hall’s Armstrong Alley. The event will be held from 5 PM to 8 PM on April 1h. Other events during the week include “Ramping Shop” and “Fashion N Fete,” both culturally inspired events in the effort of creating an enjoyable experience for all.
The ending event, “Fashion N Fete,” is a fashion show, a collaboration event between QC’s student government, the Student Association, showcasing carnival costumes and cultural models. Tickets are available online through Eventbrite.
The club hosts many different events throughout the year that can be found on their Instagram and Facebook. CSA really stresses the importance of learning about yourself and who you are, and who the people around you are outside of the typical college classroom experience. This cultural club offers a one-way ticket to adventure.