On Saturday, Feb. 9, the Bangor Room of the Memorial Union was filled with students attending Soulfood Festival, one of the many events that the Office of Multicultural Student Life organized in celebration of Black History Month. The event offered tables covered in a variety of delicious foods including mashed potatoes, biscuits and fried chicken. Hip-hop music played quietly in the background as students gathered and waited for the meal to be served, traditional buffet style. Through events like the Soulfood Festival, students from all walks of life can come together and learn about important pieces of cultural history.
Soulfood holds an important place among African American history. While the term “soulfood” was officially coined in the 1960s, the recipes and cooking styles can be traced as far back as the 19th century. Today, soulfood traditions are enjoyed in a vast number of areas, especially in America.
The Office of Multicultural Student Life is dedicated to making the University of Maine campus a safe place for all students from all backgrounds. Located in Room 312 of the Memorial Union, the office is a resource for students who come from a variety of cultural backgrounds, particularly those that are underrepresented. One of the most important elements of the organization is promoting the value of culture across the campus and greater community.
The Multicultural Center, along with the Rainbow Resource Center, act as safe spaces for the student community as well as an educational outlet for cultural and social awareness with the goal of helping students navigate the world and their environment. This is done through a number of student services including leadership development, peer mentorship and tutor programs. The office works closely with all of UMaine’s tutoring centers and programs such as the Math Lab and the Writing Center.
In addition to providing a safe space for students, the Office of Multicultural Student Life also manages several clubs and student organizations including the Asian Student Association, the Caribbean Club, the Muslim Student Association and the Student Heritage Alliance Council. The office also holds several annual events and cultural heritage celebrations like the Multicultural Thanksgiving, Islamic Awareness Week, Hispanic Heritage Month and Native American Heritage Month.
The Office of Multicultural Student Life has no shortage of events like the Soulfood Festival planned for the rest of February in celebration of Black History Month. Some events to look forward to in the coming weeks include Friday Social on Feb. 15 and 22, in the Memorial Union and Black History Month Trivia on Feb. 28 in the Union North Pod.
For a complete list of events happening in celebration of Black History Month, visit the Office of Multicultural Student Life in the Memorial Union or visit their website at umaine.edu/multicultural/student-resources/. You can also find out about upcoming events by liking their facebook page.