CAB World Fair Features BC Cultural Clubs

Joseph Tribuiani, the AHANA+ Representative of the Hellenic Society of Boston College, manned a table cluttered with Greek flags and blue and white stickers at the Campus Activities Board’s World Fair on Saturday afternoon. Like other club leaders at the fair, Tribuiani, MCAS ’21, said it helped students learn from his organization’s culture. 

“I just hope that everybody comes to see, you know, the passion that this club provides and really the acceptance that everyone can be a little bit Greek sometimes,” he said. 

CAB hosted the “World Fair” on all three academic quads, where 20 cultural clubs showed off traditions, played games, and blasted music while giving away shirts, pins, and stickers.

Resham Jariwala, CAB’s assistant director of campus engagement and CSOM ’22, said the fair gives BC’s different culture clubs the opportunity to learn from each other.

“It’s not just one cultural organization putting on one event and only having people from that team come,” said Jariwala. “I think [it’s] giving them a platform to all be together [and] all kind of showcases different things.”

Dawin Ye, secretary of the BC Taiwanese Cultural Organization and MCAS ’23, watched as visitors of his club’s table struggled to learn a version of Mahjong that even he said he found confusing. 

“I think they’re playing by traditional rules because … this is nothing like I played it before,” said Ye. 

Ye said he hoped the World Fair would be a good way for students to be introduced to the organization.

“Hopefully they see that we’re like a welcoming community and that they come back for more events next year,” he said. 

The weather presented issues for the outdoor event, as CAB decided to delay the fair’s opening by an hour, from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m., due to a drizzle left over from Friday’s surprise snowstorm. 

The delay, though, proved to be a smart move, as rays of sunshine began to project on the quads right as the fair opened.

“I was very overwhelmed this morning, given the weather, especially given the crazy snowstorm yesterday—April man, literally,” Jariwala said. “So I’m really excited. I think all the clubs are really excited as well.”

Even though the weather may not have been ideal, Scott Hsu, co-president of the Phillipine Society of BC and MCAS ’21, said he was just glad the event could still happen in person.

“You know, there’s still snow like around the quads,” said Hsu. “It’s not like the best weather, but at least we’re able to have something outdoors, you know, it’s definitely better than not having anything else.”

Hsu said it was good for members of his club to gather at the fair, as many of their experiences have been virtual this year.

“Honestly just some kind of in-person experience, you know, being able to kind of see the familiar faces that ran the club that year and like, just because we’ve known each other for, you know, so long,” Hsu said.

Similar to Hsu, Giovanna Befeler, secretary of the Cuban-American Student Association and MCAS ’24, said the fair being in person offered an opportunity for interaction. 

“It’s nice that it was in person so people can actually see us and how we have a presence on campus and be able to speak to more people,” said Befeler. 

Befeler said she hopes the club will allow students to familiarize themselves with Cuban culture. 

“Everyone’s been coming up and getting our stickers, and they see the food and they’re like, ‘oh wait like I might want to try this later,’ and so it’s [about] having more visibility on campus and people just, you know, not seeing Cuban culture as something far away, [but] something they can enjoy as well,” she said. 

Jariwala said CAB organizers had to figure out ways to create a fun environment while still abiding by COVID-19 restrictions as they planned the event. 

Those restrictions, Jariwala said, prevented the clubs from serving food at the fair.

“We tried to get food to be involved in the actual event, but, you know, it wasn’t allowed, and I think maintaining safety is of utmost priority for us,” she said

Jariwala said food was a significant part of the fair when it first took place in 2019. Last year, the event was canceled entirely due to the pandemic.

Befeler said she is grateful that CAB decided to host the fair in person, even if turnout, for her club at least, was not the best. 

“I mean there can always be more people to come and our location is not the greatest, but we’ve had a few people come by the booth,” she said. 

Tribuiani also praised CAB’s work in hosting the fair. 

“CAB has been really kind to us,” he said. “They really got us all of the things that we needed. … It was really nice of them, and we work very closely with them and really have a great time.” 

The event, he said, allowed students to spend time with each other while also drawing from other cultures around the world. 

“We love meeting new people,” said Tribuiani. “We love, you know, combining clubs, and we really just enjoy being with others.”

Featured Image by Victor Stefanescu / Heights Editor

April 19, 2021