Fries eaten day after day, Korean films kept behind locked dorm doors and the tinging of bangles never to be heard. While students at Laurier Brantford may be learning meticulous details about other countries and peoples, this doesn’t always translate into student life. In fact, being the small campus that it is there aren’t many clubs or activities specifically related to showcasing diversity at all. But, some students are itching for a change, waiting for an opportunity to expand the definition of what they believe our collegial environment should look like.
The truth is that life on campus can become exceptionally cookie cutter-esque in terms of food, lifestyle and entertainment. Students can fold into the perceived norms and forget that excitement, adventure and an intense ability to learn firsthand often come when people open up and celebrate their differences. However, the issue is the vulnerability that this entails. The natural process is cultural assimilation, described in the dictionary as, “a process by which members of an ethnic minority group lose cultural characteristics that distinguish them from the dominant cultural group or take on the cultural characteristics of another group.” To a degree this is unavoidable, but when you smell the scent of Kraft Diner wafting from underneath ten doors at once, it’s time for a change to occur.
Starting small is the key – making some homemade perogies for your roommates, or popping in that Vietnamese track that actually ends up being quite catchy. No matter how frightening it may seem to rustle up the nerve to be forthcoming, the truth is that not only are you opening up a whole new world for the people around you, but you’re also adding more dimension and colour to the campus as well. I know that if I smelt a Samosa baking or saw girls with henna tattoos I’d smile instantaneously.
Hopefully, there is room in the future for a cultural showcase on campus. As Parveen Badwal, a student at Laurier Brantford suggests, “A cultural fair would be great for the school, giving [students] a chance to see and experience what every country represented has to offer.” But the truth is that all doesn’t hinge on the big things. It’s the one-on-one personal efforts that will make the most beautiful and remarkable shifts. Laurier Brantford students are warm and receptive for the most part. Our cultural ignorance doesn’t stem from a lack of concern but rather a lack of effort. So go ahead, Laurier, culture it up…you certainly won’t regret it!