Weeklong Celebration to Focus on “Building Bridges, Creating Community”

Unveiling of Wall of Peace, presentation by Chicano poet among activities
Release Date:
September 20, 2012
Matt Heidt,

HAMBURG, N.Y. – A variety of events that illuminate and bring together diverse cultures and traditions from around the world are planned during Hilbert College’s Cultural Awareness Week celebration held October 8–11. Events and activities include a multi-cultural dinner, film screenings, bazaar, and a presentation by Chicano poet Luis Rodriguez.

The “Building Bridges, Creating Community” themed week begins at 3:00 p.m. on October 8 with the unveiling of an exhibit, multi-cultural dinner, and film. The unveiling of the “Wall of Peace and Inclusivity” will take place in the McGrath Library. The exhibit is made up of unique pieces of cloth, either designed or written by faculty, staff and students, that express each participant’s view of the ways Hilbert comes together as an inclusive community and respects cultural differences. A welcome by Hilbert President Cynthia Zane, Ed.D., will be given at the event.

Following the unveiling, guest speaker, David Grapes, Hilbert’s Student Government Association (SGA) President, will give a presentation on “Leadership & Civility: Creating a Diverse Community.” The presentation focuses on two ideas, promoting/accepting diversity, and how we can come together as a whole to build a diverse community. The presenter, Mr. Grapes will share personal experiences in his presentation; while incorporating relevant concepts taught by Saint Francis of Assisi. Moreover, he will share some of the proactive measures Hilbert College has taken to create diverse community, as well as promote new, innovative ways we can create community.

A celebration of festivities with food, live drumming, and dancing from the African American Cultural Center will be part of the Multi-Cultural Dinner at 5:00 p.m. in the Upper Level of the Campus Center.

The evening will end with the showing of “Miracle at St. Anna,” a film directed by Spike Lee. The film will be shown at 8:30 p.m. and traces the experiences of four African American soldiers trapped in a Tuscan village during WWII. 

Cultural differences and similarities will be showcased with performances and information distributed at the Cultural Bazaar on October 9 from 2:00-5:00 p.m. in West Herr Atrium/William E. Swan Auditorium.

Abilities Awareness, El Buen Amigo, School of Irish Culture, Woodland Visions Native Arts, the Hilbert SIFE (Students In Free Enterprise) organization, Hilbert Kenya Krew international service learning group, and many others will be available at the event.

The bazaar will also include the following presentations:

·         “Nadia Ibrahim Middle Eastern Dance Company” from 2:00-3:00 p.m. in the West Herr Atrium. Nadia Ibrahim, of Lebanese descent, is very familiar with music of the Middle East, Dance Orientale, Lebanese Debkes, and other folkloric dances such as Ghawazee, Cane, Karsilimar, Sudan, Tunisian, Moroccan, Egyptian, and Greek. Learn more about Middle Eastern culture and how to belly dance.

·         Woodland Visions Native Arts will have three 1 hour educational sessions from 2:00-5:00 p.m. in SW 123. This is a Mohawk tradition that helps individuals find their “orenda” or personal power.  Participants will learn about the cultural history behind burning art, a fulfilling experience that enriches the mind, body, and spirit.    

·         The Red Dragon School of Martial Arts will present the history of martial arts and perform the lion dance from 3:30-4:15 p.m. in the West Herr Atrium/Swan Auditorium.

·         An interactive session on Irish dancing and culture takes place from 4:30-5:00 p.m. in the West Herr Atrium. Clann Na Cara, Gaelic for “A Family of Friends,” promises to give a show stopping performance and short lessons on Irish culture.

The second day of day Cultural Awareness Week concludes with a “Meet the Greeks: Step & Stroll Showcase” at 8 p.m. in Hilbert’s Swan Auditorium. The showcase gives a taste of what it means to be part of a community, and what brotherhood and sisterhood symbolize in Greek life.

A roundtable discussion on “Politicians and Pundits: Building Community in the Midst of Uncivil Discourse” is scheduled on Oct. 10, from 3:15-4:30 p.m. in 216-218 Paczesny Hall. Panelists discuss the media, politics, and how to build community in the midst of uncivil discourses. 

In the evening, Zumba, a Latin-inspired dance fitness program, will give participants the opportunity to move to music such as salsa, hip hop and samba. The Zumba class begins at 6:00 p.m. in the Franciscan Hall Atrium.

On Oct. 11, a viewing of the film “Unseen Tears” will be presented from 12:30-1:40 p.m. in Bogel Hall. Michael Martin, Executive Director for Native American Community Services of Erie and Niagara Counties Inc, will lead a discussion about the film’s chronicle of experiences of Native American families in WNY, as a result of their enrollment in Indian School and the Mohawk Institute.

The Grace Stumberg Band will play as part of the collaborative event “Promoting Acceptance, Dignity and Social Inclusion” between Hilbert College and OAHIIO, (The Good Path) from 3:15-7:00 p.m. in the Main Quad (rain location is upper level of the Campus Center). OAHIIO serves the Native American community in Western New York and is part of Western New York Independent Living, Inc.  A tent will be provided with pizza, drinks and information on promoting social inclusion for cross culture persons in recovery from substance abuse and mental illness. Information is also available about healthy lifestyle choices, networking opportunities and support services.

Hilbert’s Cultural Awareness Week will close out on Oct. 11 with a Visiting Artist Series, workshop and keynote address by Chicano author and poet Luis Rodriguez.

Over the past twenty years, Rodriguez has read and talked to communities about being aware, attentive, cohesive and caring in dealing with the rise of gangs and drugs among our children. “On the Spirit of Teaching and the Spirit of Learning” workshop with Rodriguez will take place from 2:00-3:00 p.m. in room 101 of Bogel Hall. The workshop is an informal dialogue about building community.

Later that evening, Luis Rodriguez will interact with a larger audience to explore the issues of youth, gangs, violence, sub-standard education, poverty, housing crisis and more, during the Visiting Artist Series entitled “Hearts & Hands: Creating Community in Troubled Times.” The accomplished author and poet will draw from his own life experiences, concerning the imaginative, healing, and regenerative power that lies in a whole, healthy, caring, and authentic community, which can change the world. The Speaker Series will take place at 7:30 p.m. in the Swan Auditorium with a book signing and reception to follow.

Cultural Awareness Week activities, which are free and open to the public, are being co-sponsored by Hilbert Admissions; Campus Ministry; the Career Development Center; Common Ground Club; Criminal Justice and Human Services Departments; the English Department’s Visiting Artist Series; Honors Program; Leadership Development; McGrath Library; Multicultural Affairs; Residence Life; Student Activities; OAHIIO – The Good Path; Residence Life; SAMHSA; Student Government Association; and Student Success and Retention.

Additional information is available by contacting Tara Jabbaar-Gyambrah at 926-8835 or e-mail

Hilbert College, located in suburban Hamburg, N.Y., south of Buffalo, is a private four-year college founded in 1957 in the Catholic Franciscan tradition. With nearly 1,100 students, Hilbert is a dynamic Western New York college that offers career-focused majors, including one of the top criminal justice programs in the region, and more than 50 minors and concentrations. The college’s engaging, student-centered campus community offers numerous leadership, internship, and service learning opportunities from which students launch successful careers while making positive changes in their communities. The Hilbert Blueprint promotes a well-rounded student experience over four years – starting with the Foundations Seminar in the freshman year, followed by Sophomore Service, Junior Symposium, and culminating with the Senior Capstone. Hilbert has expanded its academic offerings with the college’s first graduate programs and new Accelerated Degree Programs geared to adult learners.