Theta Nu Xi Multicultural Sorority, Inc. hosted an award ceremony, RISE, Recognizing Innovation, Scholarship and Excellence, on Thursday to commemorate groups, as well as individuals on campus who have achieved outstanding accomplishments in promoting the values of multiculturalism at Ramapo College. Pat Chang, the assistant vice president of regional campaign and alumni relations at Ramapo, delivered the keynote address.
Chang’s speech was an unexpected change of pace from a typical keynote address. Instead of simply lecturing the audience members, he had them perform two activities, which served to highlight his point. The first of these activities entailed tracing a prepared picture. This activity was made more difficult as participants were split into groups of two and only one person could see the image while the other had to draw it. This was a communication exercise simulating culture shock, exemplifying how the two people of the group had very different perspectives of the task at hand.
The other activity required the participants to explain what they ate for breakfast that day to their partner, who had to pretend to not have an inkling about what those breakfast foods were, thus forcing the one describing to be detailed and precise, again simulating culture shock. The overall point of this was to demonstrate “how hard listening and communicating can be, especially in the face of different cultural perspectives,” according to Chang.
He went on to share a story to the audience about a man’s experience working in Japan. Once Chang’s keynote was concluded and there was a quick break for food, the awards were presented to their recipients.
The Social Progress award went to Ebony Women for Social Change for their efforts to organize events on campus that advocate social change in favor of equality and multiculturalism. The Humanitarian Award went to the Association of Latinos Moving Ahead, due to their community service for both the Latino population and the community at large. The Bridge Builder award went to Ramapo Pride for their efforts in creating a comfortable and free space for LGBTQ students at Ramapo. The Purpose Award went to Brothers Making a Difference for their contributions to the campus through leadership and education. Lambda Theta Phi, Latin Fraternity, Inc. recieved the Excellence in Greek Unity Award, as well.
Lastly, the Butterfly Wings Scholarship, worth $200, was given to Hazel Magbitang for her essay on multiculturalism. In her essay she discussed an experience she had as a nurse, where the patient she was treating only spoke Spanish, and, according to Magbitang, “her understanding of the language was rudimentary at best.” However, through her efforts to communicate with the man via gestures, she was able to properly treat the patient.
When asked about the importance of celebrating multiculturalism, senior Hychia Troutt said, “Wherever you go you will be meeting new people, and to move up in the world you need to understand these people in order to work and communicate with them.”