On Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2019, the Lambda Theta Alpha Latin Sorority hosted Embrace Your Flag, an event highlighting and embracing cultural awareness. It took place at the Miron Student Center (MSC), Room 228, beginning at 6:30 p.m. and concluding at 8:30 p.m.
The room was packed with students, and there were stations with poster boards about each country members of the sorority decided to focus on. Those countries were Morocco, Peru, Cuba, Japan, the Dominican Republic and Brazil.
"Embrace Your Flag was an opportunity for us to partner with multiple organizations and have a well-rounded discussion around culture," said Emily Hernandez, current member and chapter orientation advisor of Lambda Theta Alpha.
Students went to each station and learned about the geography, history, culture and demographics of each country. Each station also had a dish native to that country which attendees were free to help themselves to.
There was also a note-taking component of the program that allowed students to keep track of what they learned at each country's station they visited, in the form of a "passport" they held onto.
Embrace Your Flag brought students together to celebrate the importance of diversity.
"These events where everybody gets to choose a country and express a bit of the culture there are always my favorite," said Johnny Martinez, member and current chapter president of Lambda Sigma Upsilon.
When asked why these events were his favorite, Martinez talked about having the opportunity to showcase an underrepresented country.
"Countries that are overlooked have a chance to shine," continued Martinez. "I am not Japanese, but I have a passion for Japanese culture which has always been a thing for me since I was young. I have enough knowledge of the country and its culture to represent it."
Martinez feels that Kean University does well with diversity. "This has to be one of the top schools that promotes diversity among the nation because [in] every room that I walk into on campus, there is always a mixed group of people," he continued.
"There isn't always one society which makes it interesting to learn more about other people's cultures and helps you make friends. If you don't have the funds to travel, the first thing you could do is to be informed of other people's knowledge and experience of them doing so."
Diversity is prevalent in today's world. One must be willing to embrace other backgrounds and cultures to ensure success in both academic institutions and the workforce.
Among students, diversity has a direct impact on performance. Students seem to work better in an environment that is diverse, enabling them to push themselves further and to take on new challenges for growth.
Learning about different backgrounds and cultures helps students to think more critically and efficiently. This also brings comfort to oneself, giving one a sense of safety within themselves and the world around them.
Lambda Theta Alpha's mission is to provide sisterhood based on unity, love, and respect to foster development of those who are willing to take charge and lead by providing and practicing political, social, and cultural activities. Lambda Theta Alpha aims to bolster unity through charitable and educational programs.