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ALANA conference at SUNY Oswego to celebrate diversity

OSWEGO — The 29th annual ALANA Student Leadership Conference at SUNY Oswego, a weeklong multicultural celebration starting Sept. 19, will feature the ever-popular fashion show, a high-energy motivational speaker, leadership workshops, a gala banquet and a concluding performance by the Williamsburg Salsa Orchestra.

Several of the student organizers of SUNY Oswego's multicultural ALANA Student Leadership Conference gather to show off some accessories that may appear in the popular fashion show on opening night, Sept. 19. From left are senior business administration major Michele Kissi, representing the African Student Organization; junior biology major Tanishae Edwards, sophomore accounting major Mireya Baxter and sophomore mathematics major Marquia Williams, all of the Caribbean Student Association; and foreign exchange student Yingying Zhuge, who studies business English and represents the Asian Student Association.
Several of the student organizers of SUNY Oswego’s multicultural ALANA Student Leadership Conference gather to show off some accessories that may appear in the popular fashion show on opening night, Sept. 19. From left are senior business administration major Michele Kissi, representing the African Student Organization; junior biology major Tanishae Edwards, sophomore accounting major Mireya Baxter and sophomore mathematics major Marquia Williams, all of the Caribbean Student Association; and foreign exchange student Yingying Zhuge, who studies business English and represents the Asian Student Association.

With a theme this year of “Empowerment for the Future,” ALANA (African, Latin, Asian and Native American) annually encourages student leadership, multicultural learning and an atmosphere of mutual understanding at SUNY Oswego.

Student representatives of cultural organizations spend nearly a year organizing the jam-packed week.

ALANA week “is a great place to meet new people,” said Caribbean Student Association representative Marquia Williams, a sophomore in majoring in mathematics with a pre-health emphasis. “You get to have friends, you don’t need to be by yourself. Everybody is very welcoming.”

The ALANA Fashion Show — presenting an array of cultural fashions — will take place at 7 p.m. Sept. 19, in Hewitt Union ballroom. DJ Tumbo and guest comedians Marlon Randolph and Omar Thompson will entertain. Tickets are $5.

“The fact that (the fashion show) is coming first this year is really exciting,” said Sasha Huff, a junior English major who is president of the Black Student Union.

The fashion show will highlight Mayan clothing in honor of special guest Alida Perez, a Kakchichel Maya from Guatemala who makes clothing and other textiles.

Appearing in conjunction with National Hispanic and Latino Heritage Month, she has founded a nonprofit organization named Artisanos Unidos to promote fair trade in indigenous crafts and to market them worldwide.

Full agenda

Among the happenings, the fifth annual Unity Peace Walk from City Hall to the college will bring together students from all walks of life to demonstrate diversity and unity in the college and community. The walk, which begins at 3 p.m. Sept. 20, celebrates the August 1963 March on Washington.

On Sept. 21, alumni will return at 4 p.m. in Room 114 of Marano Campus Center to share lessons of SUNY Oswego involvement and leadership that have propelled them in careers or graduate school.

Justin Jones-Fosu, a motivational speaker addressing leadership traits, diversity, student success and healthy relationships, will offer a free presentation titled “Hug an Elephant, Kiss a Giraffe: Redefining Diversity in Everyday Life” at 6 p.m. Sept. 22 in Marano Campus Center auditorium.

Jones-Fosu provided his own trailer for the speech at https://youtu.be/feZPdEm2-Rc.

ALANA student leaders will make a series of academic presentations with global perspective — from a session recounting presidential candidate Ted Cruz’s life story to an inside look at school systems in Asia — from 3 to 5 p.m. Sept. 23 in Room 114 of Marano Campus Center.

The college’s Image Step Team, using energetic dancing as a form of self-expression, will headline “Collections of Expressions” — also featuring poetry, readings and music — at 6 p.m. Sept. 24 in Marano Campus Center auditorium.

The annual ALANA banquet and dessert reception, hosted by the Caribbean and Asian student associations, will begin at 5:30 p.m. Sept. 25 in Sheldon Hall ballroom with entertainment by DJ Tumbo.

Tickets are $15 ($12 for SUNY Oswego faculty, staff, youths and seniors; $8 for SUNY Oswego students).

The 11-piece Williamsburg Salsa Orchestra will perform at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 26 in Hewitt Union ballroom, in conjunction with the Artswego Performing Arts Series.

The Brooklyn-based band foregoes the traditional repertoire of vintage salsa covers, playing dynamic dura arrangements of indie rock tunes from TV On the Radio, Arcade Fire, LCD Soundsystem, The Black Keys and more.

Tickets are $15 ($5 for all students).

For all three ticketed events during ALANA week, visit any SUNY Oswego box office, navigate to tickets.oswego.edu or call 315-312-2141.

Parking on campus is included in the price of a ticket; at all other times parking requires a current parking sticker or a $1 day-use permit; information is available at oswego.edu/administration/parking.