BSU dinner geared toward Haiti relief, part of Awareness Week

The varied performances at Black Student Union's annual Soul Food dinner on Saturday evening were strung together by an underlying message, printed on every program and repeated several times throughout the show: In unity, there is strength.

This sentiment is the national slogan of Haiti, recently affected by an enormous earthquake that left the country devastated. Throughout the evening, attendees were reminded of the tragic earthquake and what could be done to help.

"We already had our major dinner planned and thought we could combine the dinner with Haiti relief," said junior Shedia Christopher, BSU co-president. There were envelopes on each table for attendees to donate money and students sold buttons at the end of the dinner. All proceeds will go to Partners in Health, an organization providing relief to Haiti.

The College Union Ballroom was decorated in blue and red, the colors of Haiti, and at the beginning of the program, sophomore Cladia Plantin gave a strong performance of the Haitian national anthem. Traditional soul food was served, such as macaroni and cheese, baked and fried chicken and corn on the cob, as well as black rice with mushrooms, a specialty of Haitian cuisine.

The evening's performance opened with a skit that showed BSU members in a meeting, arguing over whose culture should be represented in an upcoming lip sync competition. After hearing news of the devastation in Haiti, the members on stage decided it was more important to work together than focus on their individual wants.

"It's about putting aside all our differences and coming together and helping others in need," said senior Trishana Crooks, BSU co-president.

"A good thing about the program is that it shows how the earthquake has impacted people outside of Haiti," Christopher said.

Along with vocal and dance numbers by BSU members, outside student groups were featured in the performances throughout the evening. Onstage were fellow cultural organizations such as Shakti, Japanese Culture Club and Korean-American Student Association, as well as Geneseo Gospel Choir and the Swing Club. The breadth of campus organizations featured in the show strengthened the evening's message of unity.