By Gureni Lukwaro
If you are new at American University of Sharjah (AUS), you may still be wondering as to what is this Club Fair everyone is fussing about. For some of you who have been at AUS for a while you know that the event is a big deal as it is one of the avenues the university provides to showcase different cultures represented at AUS.
AUS prides itself as a multicultural community with about 90 different nationalities represented in its student body and Club Fair is one of a number of events that gives the diverse AUS community an opportunity to come together as one people of different backgrounds.
With its great diversity, AUS is a perfect example of a unique phenomenon referred to in sociology as a salad bowl. In sociological studies, when a group of people from diverse cultures come together, one of two things can happen; they can either become a melting pot where they bring all aspects of their cultures, blend it with the main culture of the place and become a diluted part of the main culture. Alternatively, they can become a Salad Bowl where they bring all the unique aspects of their culture, add and mix them in the bowl and make a good and delicious looking salad in the bowl. With this phenomenon, each unique culture is clearly visible in the mix and adds flavor to improve the salad and that what AUS is.
In additional to the daily visible signs of each culture represented at AUS, several times in every school year, the university, through its Office of Student Affairs, organizes cultural events specifically geared to give students an opportunity to showcase their individual cultures and highlight the beauty of diversity. These events include Club Fairs which happens once in every semester as well as Global Day.
The Fall 2013 Club Fair started on Monday, October 7, 2013 and will run through Tuesday, October 8, 2013 at the university’s Student. The two-day event, held each semester, gives new students a chance to sign up for the many cultural and common interest clubs on the AUS campus. With 72 ethnic and interest-oriented clubs and 8 departments from the Office of Student Affairs participating in the fair this semester, the level of student excitement and involvement was more than ever before.
During the Fair, the AUS Student Center is divided into segments and they take build booths and decorate them according to the themes that they choose for their booth. Students enjoy the two-day event taking the time to interact with their peers form different majors and cultures.
“This is a promising academic year for extracurricular activities as we started the semester with a positive student turnout in most of our programs and activities. This Club Fair alone witnessed the participation of 72 student-sponsored clubs and organizations, up by 33% from previous years,” said Dr. Al Shehhi, Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs at American University of Sharjah.
“This is a direct result of the increase in the number of students and commensurate with their interest in engaging in extracurricular activities. I am glad to know that many of our students now understand the importance and benefits of out-of-classroom learning experiences in complementing their academic endeavors. Although it will be a challenging year ahead for Student Affairs, our team is well-prepared to accommodate student demands while optimizing whatever university resources are available to satisfy our students’ needs for activities,” she added.
On the second day of the Club Fair, visitors will see traditional dance performances from various cultures represented at AUS. Prizes will also be given to the best stalls created by the ethnic and interest-oriented clubs.
So to both new and returning students, do your best to enjoy the event, learn about other cultures around you and enrich your AUS experience by interacting with as many people as you can from all over the world. This will add value to the education you are getting here. AUS is indeed a Global Village.
Gureni Lukwaro is a Writer, Editor and Social Media Manager at the American University of Sharjah.