For over 10 years, the Multicultural Expo has provided students at Ohio University with the opportunity to get involved in multicultural organizations on campus and meet more of their peers.
This year, the Multicultural Expo will take place in Baker Center’s Ballroom on Aug. 25 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. and over 50 organizations will be sharing what they do as a group of students.
Winsome Chunnu, the director of the Multicultural Center, said the organizations in attendance have been getting reminders about the expo since last Spring Semester. The expo is put on by the Black Student Union, or BSU, the Multicultural Center and the Division of Diversity and Inclusion. China Henderson, the president of BSU, said the executive board of the organization and Chunnu have been planning for a couple months prior to the event.
“Our summers were kind of cut short to prepare,” Henderson said. “We tried to start preparing a couple months before this to give ourselves some time and leeway … And I’m really excited to see how it turns out tomorrow because my board worked very hard on absolutely every single little piece of it.”
The Multicultural Expo was in Ping last year due to COVID-19 in order to abide by social distancing protocols. The event is typically in Baker Ballroom and is returning to its normal spot this year.
“We will be using the entire ballroom as well as the pre-function area,” Chunnu said. “And within the planning we do catering, there will be a PowerPoint running for the duration of the program with information about all the student organizations. And the difference between this expo and the expo on (College Green), for example, is that there’s a performance piece to this one. So we have several student organizations that will be performing.”
The multicultural student organizations at the event will be looking for new members, and Henderson said the event is “how they keep our organizations alive.”
BSU, one of the organizers and presenters of the event, promotes Black unity and community on campus, Henderson said. The Multicultural Expo guides students to organizations that have built spaces specifically for them.
“There’s not a lot of multicultural students on campus,” Henderson said. “So we try to do our best to find a place for them even if it’s not in BSU, just any kind of organization that they might take a liking to.”
The Latino Student Union, or LSU, and Alpha Phi Lambda, the co-ed Latino fraternity on campus, will also be at the Multicultural Expo. Maribel Antunez-Uriostegui is the president of both these organizations and said the Multicultural Expo is a good opportunity for multicultural students to connect with other students and organizations that share their cultural identities. The Involvement Fair the day before the first day of school could be overwhelming, Antunez-Uriostegui said, but the Multicultural Expo puts multicultural organizations all in one place for students. Students also hopefully won’t feel intimidated approaching tables because executive board members such as Antunez-Uriostegui want to share their admiration for their own organizations.
“We love what we do,” Antunez-Uriostegui said. “So we hope to meet some students through that.”
Chunnu, Henderson and Antunez-Uriostegui encourage students to attend the Multicultural Expo because it’s an opportunity to have fun and learn, and they can potentially be the ones contributing to the future of these organizations.
“It’s definitely (about) thinking about the future and wanting to be more than just a college student going through OU,” Henderson said.
If students aren’t looking to get involved right away or just want to enjoy themselves, there’s still a lot of other reasons to attend the Multicultural Expo.
“Definitely come out,” Antunez-Uriostegui said. “Enjoy some performances. There’s gonna be food, raffles (and) just a good time. Even if you’re not looking to get super involved, just have a good time that day.”