April 30, 2003

WSH Event Celebrates Culture

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With a yo-yo club, a comedy troupe and many other talented acts, Cornell’s Cultural Explosion showcased diverse talent acts at Willard Straight Hall last Wednesday. Under the supervision of Ricardo H. Morales, associate director for the office of minority educational affairs, a group of 13 community service coordinators (CSCs) prepared the event.

“The Cultural Explosion is meant to celebrate the talents of minorities on campus,” said Ashley Haile ’06.

Haile was one of the CSCs working busily behind the scenes. The event was packed with 13 diverse performances and two student artists. In addition to the performances, the audience also enjoyed a “theme dinner.” This year the theme was Latino and soul food. The CSCs chose two caterers from the Ithaca community–La Cocina Latina and Tucker’s Catering. In this way, they worked to improve the relations between the Cornell and the Ithaca communities, which was one of their goals. They also strove to create workshops that educate and enrich the Cornell community.

“This year’s group is composed of 13 incredible and dedicated young men and women, mainly first-year students who worked hard to put the program together,” Morales said.

Another goal of the CSCs was to promote service in the surrounding areas of Cornell’s community. The first Explosion took place in 1999 with Morales’ first group of CSCs, headed by Gary Wilson ’02. This year’s event brought out more people–250-275 students and administrators–and showcased many more diverse acts than the previous five years. This year’s CSCs spent two months preparing for the event by creating flyers, advertising, securing space and working with performers and the caterers. The event was free for students.

The event educates and entertains through dance, music, poetry, art and food. Some of the performances of the night included Prolific Soul Dance Troupe, Unicycle Dance by Yen Chen, Phenomenon Step Team, Grace Notes, the Chinese Yo-Yo Club, Whistling Shrimp comedy troupe, Uhuru Kuumba Dance Ensemble and Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Step Team.

The event also featured the talents of Stacia Webster through song and Tene Morgan, Din Tolbert and Rose Aline Ni’no Se-Gahon through poetry.

Meant to showcase talents of the diverse student population on campus, the Explosion was sponsored by the Office of Minority Educational Affairs Committee (OMEA/COSEP). According to their website, OMEA helps students adjust both academically and personally to their surroundings. OMEA serves students by coordinating a comprehensive network of academic support services. OMEA also has programs to increase job placement for minority students.

“Our community had a good time, a good meal and our students had a forum to showcase their prodigious talents. The program was an incredible success,” Morales said.

Archived article by Teah Colson