The Student Association Kick-Off, an event that introduces students to the different cultural groups on campus, will take place Sept. 29 in the Gordon B. Hinckley gym at 7 p.m.
“Each semester, Student Associations hosts the event to help students connect and get interested in the different cultures present on campus,” said Lauren Phethean, event coordinator and a sophomore majoring in general studies.
Phethean said each of the 27 associations will have a booth representing their culture.
The associations range from African Heritage to Vietnamese, according to the Student Association Web page.
“All the associations are going to have a different booth, and each booth is going to have some kind of food to represent its culture,” Phethean said.
Phethean said that students who want to join do not have to be culturally or ethnically related to the association.
“Anyone can just show up and get to mingle and see if there’s anything they could be interested in,” Phethean said.
Although people who have no connection with the associations can join, people who feel they have a connection to one of the cultures are also encouraged to participate.
“The associations are culturally based, but people who have served missions in these cultures usually get involved,” said Callie Su, director of Student Associations and a sophomore studying child development.
Su said that two of the 27 associations, ASL and Converts Associations, are not ethnically based, but they will be present at the event.
Miriam Carmack, president of the Converts Association and a junior studying art, said that although she is not a convert herself, she has always been exposed to missionary work.
Carmack said that because of her exposure to missionary work, there are two goals for the Converts Association.
“One of our missions is to create a family environment for converts because a lot of them don’t have that support,” Carmack said. “One of our other missions is to have converts focus on their covenants.”
Carmack said their activities for the semester will include a T-shirt competition, service projects and attending the temple as an association.
“I think it’s really important to have these associations because a lot of people feel isolated sometimes,” Carmack said. “Especially with converts, it can be a transition for them. I think that common bond is important to make those friendships.”
Valerie Carollo, president of the Arabic Association and a senior studying political science, said they try to learn about their culture on an academic level by having professors who have spent time in the Arabic culture teach them.
“We had a professor who taught in Cairo teach us about the culture and what’s going on with ISIL,” Carollo said.
Students in the Arabic Association also learn about current events occurring in their association’s culture.
Carollo said that although they try to learn about the culture at an academic level, they also have many recreational activities.
“We have movie nights or a cooking class where we learn about different recipes that are common in Arab cuisine,” Carollo said.
Student Associations is open to creating new associations if students cannot find one they are interested in.
To learn more about Student Associations, students can visit the Student Associations Web page at byui.edu/studentassociations.