On Jan. 30, the Arab American Association held its first meeting in AS 150-A. They discussed the goals and expectations of the club and allowed time for students to socialize with each other. The club also provided free Middle Eastern food for all attendees to enjoy.
“Our intent is to spread cultural awareness about our Middle Eastern culture to other people,” said Arab American Association president and senior psychology major Jovanna Sarena. “We really want to spur culture, through our food, through our traditions, through our music, through education…we really spread as much awareness as we can, since the middle eastern population is very underrepresented here at Lewis.”
Sarena began this organization last semester because she noticed that she was the only Middle Eastern person in her classes. This organization was her way to spread and grow the amazing culture of Arabians.
Currently, the organization has more than 30 students signed up as members, but Sarena would like more people to join as she is open to meeting new people.
“Joining clubs at school is really fun, but…I want this to be a legacy,” said Sarena.
As a new club to Lewis, the Arab American Association has many different activities planned for the semester, including painting and game night.
“For activities, there will be an educational presentation at every single meeting [since] I want people to learn more about our culture,” said Sarena. “We have small things planned like painting and game night, but we’re going to leave that up to the committee members.”
Since it’s a new club, they were given a small budget of $250 for the whole year, so it is hard for the club to keep up with wanting to do more activities.
“The number is only going to keep going up…and I’m trying my best to fundraise and find sponsorships, but it’s kind of hard,” said Sarena. “Regardless of how small the budget is, that’s why we’re gonna figure out ways to bring our own funds, regardless of how little the money is.”.
Since they were given a small amount of money as their budget, they are currently accepting donations from anyone willing to help fund the club’s expenses.
The organization plans to meet at least twice a month and official dates haven’t been decided yet. All club updates will be posted on social media, such as Instagram and the LewisU app.
“Students are very encouraged from all backgrounds to come see where they can learn about Middle Eastern culture,” said Sarena. “It’s just another way to be social…but the main focus here is to get people to learn more about Middle Eastern culture, those who are middle eastern and those who are not.”
On Feb. 15, the Arab American Association will be holding a Fun Fact Night where students will learn facts about the Arab culture while painting the flag of the country they come from on a canvas.
Photo Credit: Katelyn Leano