Cultures Collide At Annual Ramapo World Expo

Students came together for Ramapo’s second annual World Expo to share, learn and teach others about the many cultures of the world.

The event took place this past Friday at the Alumni Lounges from 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. The day was filled with  performances, food tastings and the opportunity for students to familiarize themselves with the many cultures that also surround Ramapo.

“I came to learn about other cultures,” said sophomore Elissa D’Aries. “I’m going abroad to France this summer, so I wanted to get a feel for different cultures.”

Meghan McDonough, the coordinator of first-year experience, said that the goals and outcomes of the event stem from trying to expose the student body to different cultures, ideas and beliefs.

As students walked into the main lobby, they were able to swipe their ID cards to check in. Then, students were given a “passport,” which they were able to fill with stickers by attending the events at World Expo. After receiving 10 stickers, students were eligible to win one of 10 free vouchers for an actual U.S. Passport (a $130 value).

This was also an “Earn Your Wings” event, so many freshmen were eager to attend. Two of the volunteers welcoming students were freshmen Jillian Petillo and Diana Aguilar.

“I see a lot of students coming in today,” Petillo said, “especially with all the events until 4 p.m.”

They swiped students in, directed them to where things were located and informed them of events that will be going on throughout the day.

McDonough said that a lot of planning went into this event because it included both outside groups and many student organizations.

“We try to combine certain programs,” said McDonough, one of the World Expo planners. “We want people to roam and be accessible to as many programs as they can and be a part of more.”

One table that stole the show was candy sushi. Created by staff from “Any Excuse for a Party,” this added a twist to the well-known Japanese dish. Candy sushi was made with cut up Twinkies and Rice Krispies, topped with gummy bears and Swedish fish and rolled with Fruit Roll-Ups.

World Expo also featured a mariachi performance in the Pavilion for lunch, a Zumba class near the Arch, a World Cup soccer tournament, a drumming performance, cheese tasting and free T-shirts.

The Global Roadrunners, a club of Ramapo students who have studied abroad, presented others with “Global Challenge Statements.” Students were asked to answer questions about social change, cultural pride, global awareness and about new cultural practice they experienced at World Expo.

In the center of one of the Alumni Lounge rooms was a table filled with government-issued tour guides. Ben Levy, director of International Education, contacted the Ministry of Tourism and they sent boxes of pamphlets and booklets that they then distributed at the event. Some countries included were Poland, Italy, Egypt, Hungary, Taiwan and Japan.

“The travel guides were cool,” said freshman Alyssa Balderama. “You never know what you can find.”

Balderama said she looked forward to performances that day, especially the Tinikling dance by the Filipino-American Student Association at Ramapo.

The Tinikling, as described by FASA member Olivia Felibrico, is a traditional Filipino dance about a bird trapped in bamboo.

“We wanted to show our culture to the campus,” Felibrico said. “This event has a lot going on, and we want to showcase our club to the school.”

Many other student organizations such as Hillel, a Jewish-based student club, shared their culture. At their table, students were able to get their names printed in Hebrew.

“We want to get our name out there and share our culture with the rest of the campus community,” junior Allison Gutworth said. “It’s our first year participating in World Expo, and we are looking forward to it.”

Other tables at the event included Enactus selling bracelets made by women from Guatemala and Henna tattoos by the South Asian Club. The Health Awareness Team also had chips with salsa and guacamole to share avocado recipes and describe how it is a healthy alternative to butter.

Another specific stand that seemed to grab a lot of attention was bubble tea. Students filled this line for most of the day.

“I love bubble tea because it’s a very delicious drink,” freshman Katrina Vital said. “For this weather, it is great, and it’s free.”

At the United Asians Association (UAA) table, students participated in “The Chopstick Challenge.” This game tested students’ expertise on the use of chopsticks by having them compete to see who can put the most beads in a bowl using chopsticks in a limited time.

“It’s important for people to educate others about cultures, especially on this campus,” said freshman UAA member Kimmie Kim.

McDonough said that the World Expo will continue to be planned every year. She hopes that it becomes something that students look forward to.