Suffolk clubs collab to promote cultural change

On Thursday November 8, Suffolk University students congregated in the Somerset Café to participate in The Journey to Cultural Change – Asian Night hosted by AIESEC, the Suffolk University Japanese Student Association (SUJSA) and the Suffolk University Taiwanese Student Association (SUTSA). The night consisted of food and fun and each of the organizations shared information on how one can become involved.

The main event of the night was a presentation put on by AIESEC featuring words from club president Joseph Effendy as well as current AIESEC members and alumni. The presentation outlined the types of goals the organization has including finding an end to poverty, achieving gender equality and creating sustainable cities and communities among other endeavors. The organization also explained how they work to carry out these goals. 

“Our main focus here in Boston is sending people on volunteer trips,” said Morgan Flebeau, vice president of outgoing global volunteering for AIESEC in an interview with The Suffolk Journal. “You can choose from 126 different countries, but we have special partnerships with seven of them – Peru, Colombia, Ecuador, Mexico, Malaysia, Cambodia, and Thailand.”  

Each of the organizations hosting the event had information booths run by members of their respective e-boards. Students visited each booth collecting stamps on the ‘passports’ the hosts had provided them with. Each one featured games for participants and provided students with information on each club’s role on campus.

The SUTSA booth featured Taiwanese salt and pepper chicken and Boba tea for students to try while they learned more about SUTSA and their involvement at Suffolk. At the booth, students could challenge SUTSA members to a match of “rock, paper, scissors” for a chance to win a novelty “Pop” figure.  

“AIESEC is hoping students can serve in another country, so we come to represent Taiwanese culture,” said SUTSA president Pei Ju Chou in an interview with The Suffolk Journal. “We hope someone can visit Taiwan and can help with education and teaching English as a second language.”  

SUJSA was also excited to be involved and to take the opportunity to connect with students from other clubs who came to participate. Their booth featured two traditional Japanese dishes: Onirigi, which is a rice ball with the option of plain, spam or avocado filling, and Dorayaki, a dish similar to a pancake that is filled with a red bean paste.

“We really encourage them to go abroad to all these other countries that we are representing here and really get to know these different kinds of peoples and cultures that are different from your own,” said SUJSA vice president Sarah Trinh in an interview with The Suffolk Journal.  “Because that’s the way we become more open to other people and how we become accepting of differences.”

AIESEC president Joseph Effendy seemed to never sit down as he was going from person to person pitching service trips and making sure everyone was having a good time.

“Being in AIESEC taught me how to read people to see their commitment and understand how to push them towards what they want to do and helping them learn at the same time,” said AIESEC president Joseph Effendy in an interview with The Suffolk Journal.

The Journey to Cultural Change – Asian Night was an example of students coming together to work towards real change that they believe in. All had genuine interest in achieving the goals set forth by AIESEC and wanted to help others become involved.  

“Even though we want people to go abroad, we just really want them here and to have an understanding of different cultures even while they’re in the U.S.” said Effendy.  “If they are here they can learn about different cultures and have food from different cultures and gain a better understanding of everyone else.”