Zeta Phi Beta attracted a diverse crowd of more than 100 students to Hillel Thursday night to celebrate different cultures and racial diversity with food, poetry and dance at the third annual Flavors of the World.
“We like people to get together and meet each other,” Zeta Phi Beta President Emmanuella Duplessy said. “Flavors of the World is about culture and art. It’s not necessarily just about diversity, but diversity and individuality. It’s not just where you are from, but who you are.”
Zeta Phi Beta Vice President Uche Ajene said the event was a success. She said Flavors of the World is always well-attended because people like to come out and support their friends.
Latinos for Progress, the Caribbean Students Association, the Black Student Union and the South Asian Society co-sponsored the event.
Zeta Phi Beta, a traditionally black sorority, joined with other diverse student groups three years ago to create Flavors of the World.
“I like this; this is cool. It’s not all one race,” said freshman Wendell Cooper, who performed in the event. “A lot of times multicultural events (at GW) are all south Asians or all blacks, but this is a lot of different people.”
“Even if we only had five people, and those five people took something away, and it was a quality show, then we count it is a success,” said Sharice Welch, a graduate student and member of Zeta Phi Beta.
The audience showed its approval with applause, laughter and shouts of encouragement as the South Asian Society dance team kicked off the event in a flurry of twirling skirts, snapping fingers and flirtatious dancing
done in the traditional Bhangra style from India.
The show quickly moved to another region and culture when Mike Trask, a member of the NAACP, read two poems that addressed stereotypes and racial barriers that many immigrants face when coming to America. His readings were followed by Cooper’s performance of original spoken poetry set to music with interpretive dance.
“I decided to perform when I heard they had open mic because I could read a poem, add a little to it and do some improv dance,” Cooper said.
“The ball started rolling, and it was a stretch for myself, but I wanted to see how much I could pull out of it.”
While performers and audience members left the event laughing and chatting, the future for Zeta Phi Beta and Flavors of the World remains uncertain. With Duplessy graduating in the spring, Ajene is the only member of the Zeta Phi Beta sorority continuing next semester.
Ajene said she is not worried about low numbers when Zeta Phi Beta has events like Flavors of the World because people come out to see the event and in the process learn more about the sorority. Ajene said events are not put on as an effort to recruit new members but as a way for the community to come together.
“I am confident by the time I graduate we will have some more members. We are an organization that does something people recognize, and with our history and tradition, people identify with that,” Ajene said.
“Maybe someday we’ll have 10 members.”