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Memorial Union, Student Government host Iowa State’s first multicultural club fair

Joy+Nyamu+and+Tarminta+Sonkailey+represent+the+African+Students+Association+at+the+2024+Multicultural+Club+Fair+in+the+MU+on+Jan.+30%2C+2024.+
Elizabeth Lane
Joy Nyamu and Tarminta Sonkailey represent the African Students Association at the 2024 Multicultural Club Fair in the MU on Jan. 30, 2024.

Student Government hosted a multicultural club fair at the Memorial Union on Tuesday, the first of which the university has seen.

The club fest was held in Durham Great Hall, and featured culture and identity-based student organizations aiming to connect students with university resources and find additional support on campus.

Mia Kawamitsu, a senior in journalism and mass communication and director of international student experience for Student Government, organized the event. Kawamitsu said that there has been a decrease in club membership since the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Since COVID, or after COVID I suppose, it seems that there’s been a decline in membership and engagement for clubs,” Kawamitsu said. “Especially with the work I’ve done with multicultural and international students, it seems that those groups especially have either dwindled down and a lot of clubs aren’t even active anymore.”

Kawamitsu said she felt that the event was a success, especially being the first of its kind at Iowa State.

“Attendance was a little bit slow throughout the day, but that’s to be expected for a first-time event,” Kawamitsu said. “I’m hoping that in the future we’ll continue to grow and raise more awareness.”

The African Student Association (ASA) attended the fair, a student organization for students interested in learning more about African cultures, including African Night, which features live performances, guest speakers, a fashion show, complimentary African cuisine and more.

“I guess what I’ve noticed from students that have come up to our poster is that they just didn’t know that African Student Association existed,” Joy Nyamu, a sophomore in psychology and communications and a member of the ASA, said. “So I’m really happy that we did decide to put up a table here just so that we could let others know.”

The Leadership through Engineering Academic Diversity (LEAD) program was also represented at the fair. LEAD provides services and programming to support students who self-identify as multicultural, international and women scholars in the College of Engineering and at Iowa State.

Brandon Clark, a representative from LEAD, attended the fair and spoke to students about the program.

“I think it’s great we can have an opportunity to showcase the diversity of student groups and organizations, [and] all the different opportunities and resources for our students,” Clark said.

Clark also mentioned a new bi-monthly event for students called “Rise & Grind,” where students can meet from 7:30-9:30 a.m. at 3300 Marston Hall for breakfast and coffee.

According to LEAD, “Rise & Grind aims to provide a consistent and relaxed space for early-morning multicultural and international scholars to socialize, build relationships, and develop consistent routines/habits that support their academic, professional, and sociocultural growth and success.”

For more information about Student Government events, visit their website.

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