The Student News Site of Ithaca College

THE ITHACAN

The Student News Site of Ithaca College

THE ITHACAN

The Student News Site of Ithaca College

THE ITHACAN

Support Us
$1260
$2000
Contributed
Our Goal

Your donation will support The Ithacan's student journalists in their effort to keep the Ithaca College and wider Ithaca community informed. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

BIPOC Unity Center hosts a Kickback

Seniors+Nour+Elshikh+and+Kashief+Scott+dance+at+the+BIPOC+Unity+Center%E2%80%99s+Kick-back.+
Cole Jackson
Seniors Nour Elshikh and Kashief Scott dance at the BIPOC Unity Center’s Kick-back.

Ithaca College’s BIPOC Unity Center hosted a Kickback event on Feb. 2 as a part of their monthly events for the campus community First Fridays. 

The goal of the event was to showcase the multiple multicultural affinity organizations on campus. The Kickback was filled with 18 student organizations like “PODER: Latinx Student Association,” “Brothers for Brothers” and the “Asian American Alliance” among many others. 95 people attended the event.

First Fridays happen every month and act as an opportunity for students to find community within each other by engaging in exciting activities together.

Cliff-Simon Vital, assistant director of the BIPOC Unity Center, said the Kickback this semester wanted to highlight the different cultural-affinity organizations on campus, for any BIPOC students who could not engage with any organizations during fall semester.

“[BIPOC students] might not be ready to commit to everything, and we see that involvement might not be as strong in the fall compared to the spring,” Vital said. “We do this to support that process.”

Senior Nathalie Molina, president of Sister 2 Sister said she felt isolated as a BIPOC student at a predominantly white institution (PWI), but was able to find community within her organization.

“As a BIPOC student here on campus, my sophomore year, I felt very alienated on campus coming from a very BIPOC area back home,” Molina said. “I’m from D.C. … It’s really nice to be able to find a community here.”

Junior Kathleen Gang, secretary of IC Mixed, an organization dedicated toward mixed students on campus, said that being a part of the organization helped her understand more about her identity and she was able to find community with people who shared her identity.

“[IC Mixed] did a lot for me when I was realizing more about my own identity and realizing I was a mixed person,” Gang said. “Coming to a space where people understand things that I didn’t realize other people experienced, until I would talk about it.”

Vital said events like the Kickback are important because it is a goal of the center to ensure that BIPOC students know the resources they have available to them while attending a PWI.

“That’s why we do it. It’s in our mission of the BIPOC Unity Center to create space that’s validating and safe while also dismantling systems of oppression that hold our community back,” Vital said.

The Kickback was also attended by multiple cultural performance groups, like “Island Fusion Dance Team,” “Pulse Hip-Hop,” “Amani Gospel Singers” and “Katalyst K-pop.”

Junior Brooke Wilson, vice president of Katalyst K-Pop said it is exciting for her to be able to share music from another country with everyone on campus.

“It’s fun to spread a different kind of music and a different genre. And a different expectation or normalization,” Wilson said. “Same goes for every genre outside of America — it’s just fun to show people you know.”

The organizations who attended the Kickback were actively recruiting more students to become members of their organizations. Each group had a table dedicated to their organization with eye-catching, colorful poster boards that had the members of the e-board and the organization’s mission statement on them.

Among these tables was the Asian American Alliance, who found success in recruiting as soon as their table was ready. Senior Pearl Hettich, co-president of the Asian American Alliance (AAA), said that attending tabling events like the BIPOC Kickback has helped the AAA reach out to more Asian American students on campus, but because the college is a PWI, there are small numbers of Asian students attending the college.

“We just got a new person signed up right as I set up the table so that’s a good sign.” Hettich said. “Unfortunately, at a PWI there’s not really the most amount of [Asian] people here. … It’s definitely important to have this representation here. A lot of people forget that Asians are people of color just because of the model minority myth, and it’s important for people to see us and see us as people of color.”

First-year student Marvin Juarez Espinoza, co-freshman representative for La Asociación Mexicana, said events specifically for multicultural organizations on campus like the Kickback help these organizations reach more students compared to a regular organization fair.

“I will say that the last time that we were tabling [the BIPOC Kickback], I was actually drawn in,” Juarez Espinoza said. “And I know that some of my friends were drawn in from it. I would say that these events do help a lot.”

Molina said events like the Kickback provide a less competitive space for her organization to get new members and is less intimidating for any new prospective members for Sister 2 Sister.

“At typical org fairs, there are so many students there [and] our org can really get lost in the fluctuation.” Molina said. “Here, it’s really easy to help focus students on places where they want to feel something familiar. Being at org fairs, people are able to ask us on-the-spot questions that they may not be able to through DM, and sign up physically, so they know they’re on the sign-up sheet.”

Molina also said that working with the BIPOC Unity Center has provided Sister 2 Sister with opportunities to work with BIPOC organizations off campus and to host their own events. Sister 2 Sister has been able to work with the Zeta Phi Beta chapter at Cornell University and has collaborated with the Sigma Lambda Upsilon chapter at Cornell during one of their meetings to work on vision boards.

“Working with the BIPOC Unity Center has been really like a blessing because we got to connect with all of our other neighboring orgs with audiences that have similar interests and cultures.” Molina said.

Sister 2 Sister will also be having its annual Black History Month showcase on Feb. 18. The AAA will host a banquet on April 19. The BIPOC Unity Center is going to continue to host monthly events. Their next First Friday event is going to be a karaoke session with the IC Musicians of Color Association and Amani Gospel Choir or a Paint and Sip with students of the Caribbean Association.

For more information on any future events the BIPOC Unity Center is planning you can follow them on Instagram, join them on IC engage, or send them an email Vital said.

First-year student Shana Desir joined two organizations at the event and said she joined to find a community on campus with people who are like her.

“I joined Sister 2 Sister and BSU. … I joined those clubs because I want to be around people who look like me and understand the experiences I’ve had here,” Desir said. “And [to be surrounded by] people that I feel like I can be more authentic around.”

View Comments (1)
Donate to THE ITHACAN
$1260
$2000
Contributed
Our Goal

Your donation will support The Ithacan's student journalists in their effort to keep the Ithaca College and wider Ithaca community informed. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
About the Contributor
Jacquelyn Reaves, Newsletter Editor
Donate to THE ITHACAN
$1260
$2000
Contributed
Our Goal

Comments (1)

All The Ithacan Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  • C

    Cliff-Simon VitalFeb 9, 2024 at 9:11 am

    Thank you for covering this. It was a great event!!!

    Reply