On Thursday afternoon, the Office for Inclusive Excellence (OIE) celebrated their ninth annual Holidays Around the World event. Each organization involved in the event is given a holiday to represent, and the groups educate members of the SRU community with fun facts, food and activities.
“It’s an opportunity to embrace different cultures, traditions and celebrations,” said Assistant Director of Multicultural Development Keshia Booker. “It gives a snapshot of what people celebrate and different areas of the world.”
Booker said the planning for this year’s event was difficult as usual, but after nine years, the OIE has developed a routine based around emails, conversations with AVI, marketing and advertising. She said this year, the Office extended the opportunity to include even more organizations on campus. They also offer the possibility for groups to represent new holidays that may not be on the OIE’s list, which includes a brief description of each holiday as well as a list of food associated.
“We have about 14 organizations participating this year, and it is a lot of moving parts,” Booker said. “Our graduate assistants help immensely in this process.”
This year, Holidays Around the World celebrated everything from Christmas and Hanukkah to Ramadan and Chinese New Year, and the event was in collaboration with Seasons of Giving, hosted by the University Program Board (UPB).
President of UPB and senior public relations major Mallory Milberger said this year’s Seasons of Giving featured holiday-themed novelty items and activities, as well as a photobooth.
“We had a lot of cool collaborations with a bunch of different organizations here on campus,” Milberger added. “We’re also giving back to the community in multiple ways, which is pretty awesome.”
While the OIE’s Holidays Around the World event was held in the Commuter Lounge as opposed to in the ballroom with Seasons of Giving, it was still very much in collaboration with UPB. Milberger said that it was like having an event within an event because Holidays Around the World had so much by itself. They supplemented OIE’s event by adding Holidays Around the World to the punch card required to enter a raffle for a gift card.
Booker said this event is a great way to kick off the holiday season, and she has always enjoyed the way students can come together while participating.
“I hope that students take a few minutes to reflect on their own traditions, as well as take some time to learn about a tradition or holiday different from theirs,” Booker added.
The OIE is preparing for Black History Month and Women’s History Month events coming up next semester, and UPB is gearing up for big things, as well. Keep up with both organizations on Twitter @SRUOIE and @SRUPB.