Afternoon barbeque opens semester with campus multicultural spirit

The Office of Multicultural Programs and Services, part of Geneseo's Center for Community, hosted its annual beginning of the year barbecue this Saturday at Doty Park, providing attendees with excellent company and good food. Students, staff and faculty came together and feasted on chicken, baked beans, coleslaw and other barbeque fare.

The office was eager to welcome new and returning students to campus. Fatima Johnson, Geneseo's coordinator of multicultural programs, helped to organize the event. According to Johnson, the main goal of the barbecue was "to get students together at the start of the semester to meet each other." She emphasized the importance of community on campus, noting how it was especially important to "encourage interaction among students of different backgrounds."

Barbara Battaglia, who works in the Center for Community and has been a part of the program for over ten years, agreed. "The barbecue is a great icebreaker for incoming freshman that allows them to meet upperclassmen," she said. "Everyone gets to mingle."

The staff of Multicultural Affairs was eager to reconnect with students early in the semester. "The office really changes and morphs to the needs of the students," she said.

Student leaders from many organizations on campus, including sororities, fraternities and resident assistants, were also present to show support and spend time with attendees. "I'm here to eat some good food and talk to some really good people," said sophomore Mike Jones.

After the food, many students and staff enjoyed games of Frisbee and volleyball in the favorable weather. The multicultural barbecue served as a great opportunity for students to interact with faculty and staff of the college in a friendly, relaxed atmosphere. "It was a nice day for everyone here to enjoy," sophomore Lwam Tecleab said, "and the free food was excellent."

The Office of Multicultural Programs represents part of the college's commitment to encourage students of all cultural backgrounds to excel. Johnson added, "Because the college's core values include diversity, it sets a nice tone on campus. Every department is being encouraged to incorporate diversity."