Jul 22, 2019
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Collegian Club Series: Cultural clubs on campus talk events, beliefs, and making friends

By Veronique Werz, Special to The Collegian

Rachel Taylor/The Collegian Fresno State students pass by club booths near the University Student Union on Thursday.

Rachel Taylor/The Collegian
Fresno State students pass by club booths near the University Student Union on Thursday.

With almost 300 recognized clubs and organizations on campus, from academic to recreational, Fresno State has clubs for students of any cultural background.

Club members and officers from various cultural clubs on campus said being involved in a club allows students to meet new friends, learn something new and gain unforgettable experiences.

Kathleen Galinato, vice president of the Magkaisa Filipino Club, said the club, named for a Filipino word meaning to be united or to become as one, has a lot to offer.

Galinato became involved with the group during her second year in college and said she has now been a part of it for five years. She said she joined because she wanted to make friends.

“That’s usually the first place you look for to connect with people, is through your culture,” Galinato said.

She said she was interested in learning more about her culture because she wasn’t very familiar with it. By joining Magkaisa Filipino Club, she said she knew that she would have the opportunity to learn much more.

Galinato said she works with a group of officers in the club’s cabinet to coordinate events.

In the fall, Galinato said the club participates in an event called “Friendship Games” held at CSU Fullerton. She said schools that participate dress up and play games that allow members of the club to bond and share experiences.

In the spring, Galinato said the club participates in “Filipino Culture Night,” during which the club showcases its culture through traditional dances, music and skits.

“I think this night is the core of the Filipino Club, apart from the social aspect, because we learn how to dance the traditional Filipino dances,” Galinato said.

She said she feels she owes a lot to the club, because she has formed friendships, relationships and had networking opportunities. Even outside the club, Galinato said the members hang out.

“It becomes family in a sense, because we try to help each other in school, or if someone is struggling,” Galinato said.

She said the club offers students a great way to become involved. Just last week, she said the club had a welcome barbecue for new members and incoming freshmen.

“We really try to make sure that no matter if you’re joining late in the semester or have transferred, you’re caught up and not falling behind,” Galinato said.

Meetings are every Wednesday at 5 p.m. in Industrial Tech Room 290 and are open to anyone who would like to join.

Qaboos Muthana, volunteer coordinator for the Muslim Student Association, said he assists in working with volunteers and coordinating events to help promote the Muslim culture.

Muthana said if students have ideas or questions about Islam, the club is the best place to be because you have the opportunity to talk to people of the Muslim faith.

Through involvement with the association, Muthana said he has gained many experiences.

“I have become a better person because I get to work with people, gain experience on how to plan events, learn how to be patient and meet many new friends,” Muthana said.

He said the association also works with other clubs on various events.

“Two years ago, our cultural fashion show included various guest speakers who represented their culture by dressing in their traditional outfits,” Muthana said.

However, the main objective of the club, Muthana said, is to promote and educate people on Islam.

“We try to get people to see the truth of the religion, Islam,” Muthana said, “not all the media stereotypes we have been exposed to.”

Muthana said the club’s next event is quickly approaching. He said MSA will host a banquet on Oct. 13.

“It is a free event for students where guest speakers are provided along with plenty of food,” Muthana said.

BSU Dance Xpress is another club that brings students together.

Brooke Johnson, choreographer for the club, said being involved in this cultural dance club can be an incredible experience.

“It [BSU Dance Xpress] has something to offer to students of any race or cultural background,” Johnson said.

She said the club is known for hip-hop, contemporary, jazz and gospel dancing, but mainly hip-hop routines which Johnson coordinates.

“I make up the dances along with a couple other girls from the team,” Johnson said.

After seeing the club perform her freshman year, Johnson said she was inspired to join.

“Being a part of the club has impacted my life in a way of becoming more organized, as well as looking at dances in a dancer perspective,” Johnson said. “It helps me express myself in a way that a lot of people don’t know who I am.”

Johnson said anyone is welcome to join the team, because it is a good way to experience different genres of dance.

“If there is an event going on on campus and they want us to do an African dance, we will perform an African dance,” Johnson said.

Johnson said being a part of BSU Dance Xpress also provided her with experiences outside the world of dance.

“My favorite thing is that we act like family,” Johnson said. “Our emotions show in our dances, which brings us together.”

So far, Johnson said the club has a few performances lined up, one of which is the Central Valley Dance Festival held at the Fresno Memorial Auditorium in downtown Fresno.

Johnson also said performances at basketball games are on the agenda.

Johnson said the club’s biggest event of the year, the annual concert held in the Satellite Student Union, happens around April. She said the event is free of charge to anyone interested.

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