Snacks and Chats: Holidays Around the World

Robert King
A&E Editor

Cameron’s Office of Student Development and the Diversity Diplomats organization hosted Snacks and Chats: Holidays Around the World from 2:30–3:30 p.m., on Nov. 8., on the second-floor meeting rooms in the McMahon Centennial Complex.

The students discussed holiday customs of different religions, cultures and countries; however, it didn’t deal with just the holidays occurring from October to December, but holidays that happen year-round.

Vice President of Diversity Diplomats Sammar Shahid coordinated the event.

She said the holidays are very big in her family, and she saw the event as an opportunity to bring awareness to different cultures, holidays and beliefs.

“The holidays are something we have in common with almost everyone around the world,” she said. “I wanted to know more about what other people celebrate, what other holidays are out there. It was my curiosity, and I know other people might have that curiosity too.”

Shahid was born in Pakistan and grew up in Saudi Arabia. She said the major religion in those countries is Islam.

“I celebrate mostly Islamic holidays,” she said, “and Fridays are kind of big in my family, we always try to do charity on Friday. We go to the prayer that happens around 12:00 and celebrate our Friday.”

Shahid wanted to point out the similarities in different holidays and bring together different cultures and beliefs.

She said that highlighting common themes is a way to learn more about different cultures and find commonalities.

Inclusion and Student Success Coordinator Olivia Polynice said the Snacks and Chats Series is to get students to open up and talk about different things, exposing each other to different opinions and backgrounds.

“It’s just a time for students to get together to discuss informally,” she said.

“Whether it is social issues, topics popular in the media or topics popular at certain times of the year.”

The Office of Student Development hosts, on average, two Snack and Chats per semester. Polynice said that they don’t host them as often as other workshops because of the emphasis on informal discussions.

“We’ve changed it up and have started asking students to host the chats instead of the faculty,” she said.

The Holidays Around the World edition of Snacks and Chats is the second one of the semester. The first Snacks and Chats focused on the topic of privilege, led by Novia Hernandez Henley.

Polynice said that Henley really opened the discussion on the perceptions and impacts of privilege.

“It was a really nice chat,” she said. “There were some strong emotions because you could tell who was really impacted by it.”

Polynice said students could share their experiences growing up and discuss how their perceptions have changed.

“We had students who talked about how they grew up in lower socioeconomic conditions but have been able to see their own kids beat that and do better,” she said.

At the first chat, the Privilege Walk, students lined up against a back wall and took a step forward or backward based on their answers to a series of questions that evaluated privilege.

The activity raised awareness of individual privilege and its power.

There will not be any more Snacks and Chats during the fall semester, but Student Development plans to restart the series in the spring semester.


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