PC Passport: Cultural Events Diversify Campus

by The Cowl Editor on November 1, 2018


Photo of students at Oktoberfest event.
The BOP Oktoberfest event offered food typical of traditional Oktoberfest in Germany. Photo courtesy of Briana Coletti ’21/The Cowl.

by Elizabeth McGinn ’21

Opinion Staff


Beers, bratwurst, Board of Programmers (BOP): Oktoberfest, organized by BOP on Oct. 19, featured staples of the iconic German holiday. Mixed with chattering Providence College students, the event felt like a glimpse into a quaint Bavarian village—the only difference being its location in McPhail’s.

Cultural events such as Oktoberfest allow students to explore the world while remaining on campus. No awkward Uber rides, exhausting flights, or uncomfortable train trips. Just trek into Slavin and journey across the globe.

Many of the clubs on campus, particularly those under the umbrella of the Board of Multicultural Student Affairs, often host such events.

The Asian American Club, Circolo Italiano, and Clube Portugues are just of few of the many student-run cultural organizations on campus. Each meet regularly, are active on social media, and host outreach events to spread knowledge about their cultures across campus.

Although Development of Western Civilization and other humanities classes expose PC to the wider world academically, reading about other cultures cannot compare to actually living, breathing, and tasting it. Study abroad options, such as a semester long program or Maymester, provide a transformative international perspective to students.

However, not all PC students have the opportunity to enjoy such a program. Expenses, logistics, and on-campus studies can prohibit a student’s abroad experience; others simply prefer to spend all four years on this lovely campus.

While international studies promote growth and learning, it simply is not feasible for all students.

Fortunately, PC clubs bring a taste of the world within the confines of campus.

BOP’s Oktoberfest event transformed McPhail’s, bringing the German holiday to Providence. Pretzels with a variety of sauces, German beer, and a polaroid photo station all contributed to the authentic ambiance.

A few days later, on Oct. 24, Latin Heritage Night in Ray brought students to the other side of the world.

With food originating from the Caribbean to Latin America, a delectable survey of Latin food graced dinner plates. Spanish rice, carne asada, and churros should absolutely become a mainstay staple in the dining hall.

Oktoberfest and Latin Heritage Night are just the tip of the iceberg. Each week boasts at least one event that offers a chance to experience a different culture.

Through events such as these, students taste a culture that may be far different from their own—or perhaps feel like a return home.

Not every student dwells from the same background; each student has a unique story, heritage, and tradition. The sharing of cultures engenders a closer, mutually respectful, and informed Friar Family.

Not to mention it is cost-effective for the participants. While the clubs sponsor the event, usually the food, music, and performances are free for all to enjoy. Nothing motivates starving college students more than free food.

Cultural clubs play a unique role on campus; they bridge the gap between academics and study abroad, and foster a common understanding of all the diverse backgrounds that make up the Friar Family.

By holding events that open the door to the world outside of campus, each and every student is given a passport valid for international experiences—all within the reaches of the PC campus.