Stony Brook University students filled the Student Activities Center (SAC) on May 3 as they looked to enjoy a vast array of delicious cuisines and celebrate togetherness.
The 22nd Annual Diversity Day and Strawberry Festival was held in the SAC’s Ballroom B. The festival was supposed to be celebrated at the Staller Steps, but it was moved to the SAC due to rain. The weather did not deter students from lining up to participate in the festival and trying the various food stations present.
The Strawberry Festival was celebrated through the collaboration of the Office of Multicultural Affairs, the Faculty Student Association (FSA) and the Undergraduate Student Government (USG).
Strawberry Fest and Diversity Day merged together in 1998, allowing the event to “simultaneously bring the campus community together and share the many dimensions of our heritages and lifestyles through music and dance performances, creative arts, food and cultural trivia,” Angela Agnello, FSA’s Senior Director of Marketing and Communications, said.
Students either purchased a ticket for $14 or used their Dining Dollars or Wolfie Wallet at the entrance to gain admission.
“Strawberry Fest began in the early 1990s and was developed by the Faculty Student Association to provide students a fun way to relax and unwind before finals week by enjoying strawberry-themed menu items,” Agnello said.
The menu was consisted of strawberry-inspired dining options provided by Satur Farm Greens, which included strawberries, feta cheese with a balsamic glaze, plant-based chorizo empanadas with salsa verde, roasted corn, bean salad, chatpata nachos, crispy chicken sliders with a strawberry-habanero glaze, bread and butter pickles, strawberry frosted cupcakes and strawberry lemonade.
The event itself took a year of planning; Tanisa Rahman, the spirit and traditions coordinator at the Office of Student Life in USG, discussed the stress behind planning and managing the event.
“I’m overwhelmed. I think my staff is overwhelmed, but we’re trying to put the best show we possibly can,” Rahman said.
Despite the pressures of running such a large event, Rahman emphasized the main goal of the festivities.
“Today’s event is to make sure that clubs are uniting together to put on a show for all students,” Rahman said.
Rahman mentioned that USG constantly works on presenting amazing club performances, which is why USG wanted to combine different clubs’ works and incorporate them at Diversity Day.
Ric McClendon, Stony Brook University’s assistant vice president and dean of students, also made an appearance at the event.
“It’s a great event. It’s a high-energy, vibrant campus experience for students,” McClendon said.
McClendon also emphasized the importance of the festival.
“This event is so important because it’s about students’ experiences. You get to learn about different cultures, [and] you can share your culture with other people,” McClendon said.