Caribbean community creates connections throughout Boston area

Colin Barry

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Stepping out of the elevator and onto the fourth floor of Donahue, many clubs hold a presence of authority and leadership on campus. For many students who are looking for an organization with a diverse and rich culture, they will be able to find it at the Caribbean Student Network (CSN).

As the club gains attraction to students, it has become popular as there are several members, reaching double digits, who attend during their bi-weekly meetings in Sawyer.

“For regular members, we have about 30 to 40 students show up,” said CSN secretary Melissa Guirind.

Many meetings consist of planning and upcoming events, but can also include in-depth discussions about any issues taking place in the Caribbean now.

“Colonialism in the Caribbean is a hot-button issue right now,” said President Fedija Charles. “That’s one of the things we usually discuss in our meetings.”

While the CSN focuses on uniting the people of the Caribbean at Suffolk, they look to bring their rich culture on campus.

“We want to educate students on the different forms of expression from the Caribbean culture, like art and dance,” stated Charles proudly as she explained her devotion to CSN.

Similar to the other clubs at Suffolk, the goal of the CSN is about concordance on campus with other students of Caribbean decent and any students interested. The CSN works to inform students about their unique culture and stresses that it is not an exclusive club, according to their president.

Unlike other organizations, their events are open to more than the Suffolk community as they welcome any student across the Greater Boston area.

As one of the last celebrations that C. Walsh Theatre will host, the 27th Fashion Show on April 23 will be the grand finale of Caribbean Week as their paramount event.

Guirind said that last year’s show was completely sold out, mostly due to the number of students that came from schools across Boston.

“We had students from UMass Boston, Amherst, Bunker Hill, and even Regis College,” said Guirind.

However, the fashion show won’t be the only event during that week that the CSN hosts.

On Tuesday, they had a discussion about the conflict going on between the Dominican Republic and Haiti. Later on, they had a Caribbean Cooking 101 class with the Office of Off-Campus Housing.

Later this week, a workshop featuring the native Kizomba dance will be taught, which was a cultural touchstone for many Caribbean countries.

In spite of an exciting week, surrounding these festivities, the week-long occasion was abandoned for the past few years due to rising costs and a lack of student support. At the end of last year, Charles and her  executive board brought the week back because of their own enthusiasm as they had attended these events as freshmen.

CSN treasurer Hernica “Nikki” Jean-Charles commented on this fact. “I find it interesting that a lot of these [on-campus] organizations have only formed a few years ago, and ours has a longer history.”

Suffolk’s international student population is exploding and will continue to grow and the ever expanding roster of international organizations reflect this. CSN is one of many groups where students can feel welcome.