The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Empowering stories showcase culture

Photo by Photo by Jesse Everett

Bobby Brooks serves as Student Body President

The first openly gay student to hold the office of Student Body President, economics senior Bobby Brooks served A&M between the 2017 and 2018 Muster ceremonies. During his time in office, Brooks focused on improvements and progress in diversity and inclusion, academics and student services.

Different cultures from all over the world collided as students gathered for the Global Leadership Forum held at Rudder Pavilion Thursday evening.

Global Leadership: Journey Through the Arts is an event organized by The Aggie Leaders of Tomorrow (ALOT), an MSC organization that aims to utilize the differences among cultures that point to leadership.

The areas on display ranged from Columbia, the Arab Nations of Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Palestine, India and South Asia.

Students were able to participate in many activities, including learning about Columbia, drinking authentic coffee, getting henna tattoos or their names written in calligraphy and eating at different eateries from the selected countries.

Daniel Warkentin, event organizer, executive of ALOT’s “Culture Through the Arts” subcommittee and mechanical engineering sophomore, said the organization was tasked with trying to showcase diversity on campus.

Our event was really finding upon that research and we had to look upon which cultures we wanted to highlight, and we wanted to bring these cultures that really don’t get any reference or notoriety on campus and we wanted to bring that to light,” Warkentin said.

According to Warkentin, over 250 students attended the event.

2017-2018 Student Body President and economics senior Bobby Brooks was the main speaker and discussed diversity at the event.

“I think we’re seeing an overall trend of student organizations starting to make more of an effort into diverse programming, diverse capabilities and that’s good because MSC ALOT isn’t bound upon any culture or aspect or university aspect. It’s really based on leadership,” Brooks said.

Brooks said as an openly gay student serving as student body president for the last year, seeing diversity on campus is important.

“If you’re surrounded by the same people as yourself, you’re not challenging yourself,” Brooks said. “Inclusion is a difficult situation. I’ve realized when I am at in my life and a lot of the time when I enter a room with someone they realize this is one of the first interactions with someone like me and sometimes I get in my own world where I forget and people have a difficult time adjusting.”

Different dance performances took place at the event, ranging from South America salsa fusion to Indian cultural dances.

Harrison Bohannon, environmental geosciences senior and member of the A&M Salsa Fusion organization that performed said Latin culture is crucial to the Texas A&M community.

“We’re here to spread our passion of the Latin culture and dance, mainly from the Caribbean and onward to teach and perform dances to the Aggie community,” Bohannon said.

Bohannon is of African-American decent, but has been the director of dance and helping choreograph Latin dances for the fusion organization for two years.

“The reason why people dance in general, is they have music and express how they feel,” Bohannon said. “With Latin music you have that passion and energy and we can show, communicate and express that to the audience there’s nothing more enjoyable.”

Multicultural student organizations including Leeland Thomas MSC International Awareness,  International Student Association and the Arab Culture Club were in attendance at the event.

Salah Ayer is an Arabic professor and advisor for the Arab organization, which helps the awareness of the Arab culture, language, and customs ranging from student abroad trips to events on campus.

“Something like this is an amazing event, because you have so many students from all over sharing their stories,” Ayer said. “I help teach and advise students that go overseas and they can really see the culture.”

Brooks said the event was about sharing culture through empowering stories.

“With all these different people, cultures, and distinctions that come into place, these are all success stories and having all these empowerment stories come together is something I am excited to be a part of, and this event conveys just that,” Brooks said.

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