Many students have had their first couple of weeks of college here at UMBC, and with so many Welcome Week events around campus, it is hard to feel left out of the loop. UMBC has always prided itself on “the diversity of experience, background, and thought represented by our campus community” and there is no one event that better sums this up than Pangea.
Created by a group of five UMBC students three years ago, Pangea has grown to be a staple of Welcome Week festivities and for involvement and inclusion on campus. It provides a space for cultural student organizations to showcase what they do during the year and even recruit new members.
“Pangea is really important because it raises awareness of all the cultural organizations on campus early on in the year for those who may not know about them,” said Ian Kibria, a sophomore Asian studies and music double major.
Many different cultural groups performed on the UC Ballroom stage on Friday, from the Black Student Union and Filipino American Student Association, to Gurl (who represented the South Asian Student Association) and the African Student Association. Each act was followed by encouraging applause and loud cheers.
It was a night full of dancing, food and loud conversation that gave life to UMBC’s statement of pride in diversity. Each cultural group had something interesting and characteristic to offer, which kept toes tapping and spirits high throughout the showcase.
“I wanted to see the diversity and different cultures represented in UMBC, and I got just that,” said Abigail Kennedy, a freshman bioinformatics and computational biology major. Along with Kennedy and the incoming freshman class this fall, many sophomores and upperclassmen came to cheer on their friends and show support for the cultural groups on campus.
It is so important for every UMBC student to feel comfortable and to feel a sense of belonging on campus, no matter their background or where they are from. With events like Pangea that allow this flourishing, it is no mystery why it has become so beloved by the student body and unlikely to ever go away.
Seniors Carly Socha and Summer Mills, two of the founders of both Pangea and the UMBC Cultural Showcase Board, spoke at the conclusion of the night. They encouraged the UMBC community to continue this culture of acceptance and diversity by applying for positions on the CSB and to help keep this engaging event returning to campus.
It is up to the students of UMBC to keep the values of acceptance and community alive on and off campus. This is no easy feat, yet it is clear that the many cultural student organizations of Pangea and the UMBC community will continue fostering a sense of belonging for all students in the many years to come.