by: Jennifer Villeda ’20 A&E Staff
Going down the stairs of Slavin to Dunkin’, you will come across several signs promoting upcoming events from a variety of clubs like the Board of Programmers (BOP), Portuguese Alliance of Lusophone Speakers (PALS), Organization of Latin American Students (OLAS), and Campus Ministry, to name a few. The idea of free food or gift cards will definitely stop some in their tracks, as it means less money spent on Thayer Street or a break from Raymond Dining Hall. An event based around culture, music, or art will still attract our attention if it interests us. These elements may be overlooked by some and their importance may not be noticed at first glance, but they have a huge impact.
Extracurriculars help some students find themselves and their friend group on campus; they offer a chance to explore all interests through creative mediums. For example, Amanda Gaccione ’20, president of BOP, said, “We constantly use the arts and music in all their forms to allow students to express themselves in different outlets or to enjoy something new that they have never tried, like pottery or musical theater.”
The arts can serve as tools of expression for all students, whether one plans the event or attends and enjoys the activities to the fullest. These clubs make a point to provide students with a chance to enjoy themselves and take a break from their classwork and hectic schedules.
They can also build awareness and community between different cultures. Alexa Jerome ’20, president of PALS and member of the Board of Multicultural Student Affairs (BMSA), says, “Our clubs work to preserve culture and expose the student body to cultures they would otherwise not encounter.” Extracurriculars are a huge component of students’ lives here at Providence College, as people gravitate towards their interests or what catches their attention.
Clubs give us a chance to all come together. As Jerome mentioned, “Students from all walks of life come out for events regardless of their own family’s origins. Every event brings a diverse crowd that comes to celebrate the cultures of their peers.” Students come to these events open-minded and excited to see what each one brings. They are given the chance to grow in their understanding of each another as individuals and as part of a community.
Laura Arango ’20, president of OLAS, said, “We take into consideration food, music, and culture in every event we plan to stay true to our mission to provide an inclusive and authentic Latinx environment for our members.” These elements allow students to have a sense of home when their real one may be far away.
Arango further commented on an event called LatinXPO that not only built a sense of community for the members of the club, but also extended it to everyone else in the PC community. “LatinXPO gave our members the opportunity to reflect, speak, and create art through photography that is reminiscent of their culture and homeland. It also allowed our members to share their stories if they wanted to with the rest of the community.”
Club use of food, art, music, and culture promotes a sense of community both among club members and the rest of PC. They allow us to know that although we may all be different in backgrounds and interests; we are still open to learning more about one another and having fun in the process.