The “African, Latino, Asian, Native American and others club” (ALANA) is a student lead organization devoted to promoting and celebrating the cultural diversity on ENC’s campus. The goal of ALANA is to make sure that everyone on the campus feels heard, represented, and proud of who they are. They also wish to educate themselves and others about the different cultures at Eastern Nazarene and how they shape the club and everyone around them.
The club hosted its first event, a “Eat and Greet,” in October, to celebrate the various cultures with music, a potluck, and games. The club has another event planned for this Wednesday, November 28. The main game of the night will be Cultural Family Feud, but there will be other games like UNO and Bingo as well.
Elizangela Decarvalho, the president of ALANA, is responsible for making sure that the club stays true to who they are and their purpose on campus. Her duties are to give leadership and motivation to the members so that together, they can make their vision for ALANA a reality. The position of president was handed to Decarvalho by the past ALANA president who unfortunately could not continue attending ENC. According to Decarvalho, the ALANA event in October was a way of “showing ENC students that we are present and that that there is a place for them to feel understood. For those who are culturally well-rounded and for those who aren’t, we wanted to provide that same atmosphere to learn and enjoy.”
They are also hoping to have a Flag Fest, Cultural Education Forums, Dance Lessons, an Around the World Fair, and much more. For the club to have events, they must get them approved by the Student Development Office (SDO), Student Government Association (SGA), and Keri Lewis. Usually, this is not difficult because all three are very open about hosting events on campus.
However, ALANA faces many other challenges, such as reaching everyone on campus. They believe it is fairly easy to reach people of different cultures because of the goals of ALANA. However, club members think that it is difficult to reach people who feel like they do not have a cultural identity and assume that ALANA has nothing for them. Nevertheless, they try to make it worthwhile for everyone.
Decarvalho also explained that it was very stressful putting the event together because they wanted to make sure everything was done with purpose and the message behind each decision was received as intended. Decarvalho has a strong support team though, such as Vice President Janille Hylton, Treasurer Iaana Joseph, and Faculty Advisor Robert Benjamin. This group helps to lower the stress levels surrounding each event that ALANA seeks to put on.
Ronald Temple, part of the outreach team for ALANA, is from Sierra Leone and greatly enjoyed the event. He felt as though every culture was represented and no one was left out, for example, various music was played from Bachata to Jamaican to Haitian to Asian. The food was also diverse, representing different regions of the world. Temple contributed by making an African dish, which many students loved. Furthermore, some parents of the ALANA committee also brought food to the event. Overall, Temple believes that the event went well with great work from the event planning team. Temple also stated that he “would love to see more diverse events on campus. It will be a great thing for the school and campus because it would give other students an opportunity to learn about other cultures.”
Shana Francis, a senior Accounting major of Jamaican descent, had a wonderful time at the Eat and Greet. She enjoyed the music, the food, and games, and wishes that ENC would have more of these types of events for students. Francis is a commuter at Eastern Nazarene and rarely attends events on campus because she can never find a ride home. However, this time she was able to attend and was surprised at how amazing it was. Francis stated that “being a commuter at ENC makes it very hard to make relationships with others since I am barely around. I didn’t know how much diversity there was on campus until I attended this event, and I am excited for more events like this in the future.”